As we all know India is passing through one of its darkest hours in recent times. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are falling prey to a deadly disease every day, and death is knocking at the doors of thousands of households. Desperate families are praying for the lives of their dear ones in every corner of the country. There is hardly a person who is untouched by grief at the loss of a parent, a child, a relative, a neighbour, a colleague, or a friend. Millions are enduring hardship due to loss of livelihood.
This is a time to stand strong and united as a nation, fight this pandemic and help each other overcome this nightmare. This is also a time to be clear about our priorities. The Olympiad programme is important to HBCSE and our colleagues elsewhere, as much as it is an aspiration for thousands of students across the nation. For more than twenty years, HBCSE has nurtured this programme with care, and is aware of the responsibility vested in it in this matter. For us, the topmost priority for the Olympiad programme has been to ensure the integrity, fairness and quality of the selection and training and to offer the best opportunities to the academically most deserving students.
During the past year, no effort has been spared to keep the programme running in the midst of a severe pandemic and consequent lockdown conditions. HBCSE aims to make it possible for deserving students to participate in the international Olympiads of 2021. This effort will continue to the maximum extent possible without endangering the health and safety of all concerned. Several special measures to adapt to the situation have already been taken, and more may be necessary in the coming days. These decisions are being taken after due deliberation at various levels, and are informed by past experience and realistic assessments of the prevailing conditions in the country.
We reiterate that at this time, the overwhelming priority is the safety and health of, first and foremost, the student participants in the Olympiad programme. The Government authorities associated with the Olympiad programme have repeatedly conveyed to us this priority, which we wholeheartedly accept.
We are well aware of the dreams of students regarding the Olympiads, and we are also appreciative of the hard work that they have put in to realise those dreams. At the same time, we cannot set aside the concerns about safety and health, which are paramount. The Olympiads are to be seen in the overall national context, and not merely as an arena for showcasing the talents of young students. It must be borne in mind that academic competitions, for all the glory and the benefits to one’s career they might bring, cannot be of greater importance than human life itself. We cannot compromise on our social responsibilities as citizens of India and compassionate human beings.
The programme will go on, guided strongly by considerations of safety and well-being of all participants. At the same time, the measures that we adopt will be aimed at ensuring integrity and fairness, and an equal opportunity for all students to compete. We appeal to all concerned for cooperation, understanding and trust in the fairness of the decisions taken by HBCSE.