She made the announcement amid speculations that these exams could be held online considering the rise in coronavirus cases of late.
“The board examinations will be held in offline mode only. It means that students will have to physically go to the exam centres to appear for the written tests,” she said.
But if any student fails to appear for a particular written paper or multiple papers due to COVID-19 or because any member of the family is infected or due to lockdown at local level, then he or she will get a grace period of 15 days to give the test, the minister said.
The examination dates have already been announced and practical exams will be held once the written tests are over, Gaikwad added.
The Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam will start from April 23, while the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) will begin from April 29, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) had announced last month.
These board exams are usually held in February and March, but this year their schedule has been changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This year, the schools of the students will be their exam centres in view of the pandemic. Apart from the regular three-hour period of the exam, they will get extra half an hour to attempt the questions. For that, the exams will start at 10.30 am instead of 11 am,” she said.
The written exams for Class 10 students will be held between April 29 and May 21, the minister added.
“Divyang students will get 20 minutes extra per hour. Suppose a divyang is appearing for a three-hour exam, the student will get total four hours to attempt all the questions as per the new guidelines,” she said.
Class 12 exams will be held in the same format, Gaikwad said.
As far as practical examinations are concerned, limited number of assignments will be given to the students, which they have to complete at home and submit to their respective schools between May 21 and June 10, she said.
“Class 12 science students will have to submit their assignments between May 21 and June 10, while arts and commerce students will have to do so within 15 days from the date of their last paper. They will have to submit their assignments to their respective junior colleges,” the minister said.
Around 13 lakh students will appear for Class 10 exam and 16 lakh for Class 12 exam, she said, adding, “I have requested the public health ministry to vaccinate all the teachers and school staff on priority who will be involved in the conduct of the exams.”
A request has been made to the state chief secretary for running suburban trains in Mumbai as per the timing of the exams and allow students to board the locals on the basis of their hall tickets, she said.
“A decision will be taken over it in the next few days,” she said.
The exams for the students who either fail or plan to upgrade their grades will be held in July and August as conducted annually, Gaikwad said.
“The supplementary exam will be held at limited centres in urban areas and at each tehsil place in rural areas. The exam centres will be declared later for the same,” she said.