Amid speculations, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ will announce the CBSE Class 10 and 12 exam dates at 6 pm on Thursday. The exams by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will be held in offline mode.

Taking to Twitter on Wednesday, the minister said: “Dear students & parents! I will announce the date of commencement for #CBSE board exams 2021 on Dec 31.”

Follow CBSE 2020 exam date announcement LIVE UPDATES here.

Pokhriyal had earlier announced that the board exams will be conducted after February in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic. The minister was addressing a few concerns over the exams amid the Coronavirus pandemic during a live web interaction with students, teachers and parents last week when he made the remark.

CBSE said that the exam will be conducted in the “written mode” and not “online mode” amid tight COVID-19 protocols.

“No final decision has been taken regarding the date for conduct of board exams, and consultations with stake holders are still in process. The exams, as and when they are to be conducted, will be in written mode and not in online mode. The exams will be conducted following all Covid protocols,” the board earlier said in a statement.

When asked why exams couldn’t be held online, just like classes, Pokhriyal referred to a small percentage of students who might not have access to technology in rural areas. “A percentage of students do not have equal access to education. While we have used unique methods to teach students but having such methods for exams might not be fair,” he said.

Pokhriyal also said that the CBSE board exams will be held on a reduced syllabus. “At least 30% of the total syllabus has been cut and some states have also announced a similar move while others are expected to do the same. There will also be 33% internal choices in the exam,” he said.

In response to a student’s request seeking more time for preparation, Pokhriyal had said: “We will ensure that you get enough time for preparation”.

According to The Times of India, the board has changed the question pattern, thereby increasing the weightage of the multi-choice questions.

On practical exams, the minister said that alternative options will be considered if students are unable to go to schools for the same. “We will discuss in this regard,” he said.

The board had earlier dismissed reports on CBSE Class 10 and 12 exam dates and clarified that any decision in this regard would be “communicated at an appropriate time” through the official website