Chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
The committee constituted to find ways to assess Bengal board’s Class XII students has ruled out the possibility of holding exams on campus amid the raging pandemic and recommended that students be assessed through home assignments.
The panel submitted its report on Saturday. Chief minister Mamata Banerjee is likely to make an announcement on Monday on the course of action, officials in the school education department said.
Sources said the committee had proposed that the possibility of sending questions to examinee’s home and fetching the answersheets from there be explored.
According to the proposal, the answers would be stocked in schools so that teachers could evaluate them.
“The marks of the assessment could be tallied with that of the practical exams that the students appeared for during the brief resumption of in-person classes in February. However, sending questions to the homes of as many as 10 lakh examinees is a mammoth task,” said a member.
An official of the school education department said mobilising the workforce to deliver question papers and fetching answers amid the pandemic was easier said than done.
“It has to be kept in mind that houses of a vast section of students across the coastal belt of Bengal have been devastated by Cyclone Yaas. Some of the school buildings have been damaged too.”
A committee member said any home assignment on digital platforms would inconvenience those from marginalised sections because of a wide digital gap among students.
According to him, the main problem pertains to the fact that when the campuses had reopened on February 12 for for Classes IX to XII, the schools were asked to take practical for the lab-based subjects and the project works for the non lab-based subjects of Class XII students.
“But alongside practicals, some sort of internal tests should have been taken. But it appears that it did not strike the school education department then that a fresh wave of cases was in the offing and the possibility of holding the board exams on the campus could be derailed. So, we are now proposing whatever seems possible under the circumstances,” said a committee member.
According to another member, they have also advised the school education department to keep an eye on what the Supreme Court would say in its next hearing on June 17 on the probable methodology of assessment for students of the CBSE board and ISC council.
The apex court on Thursday set a two-week deadline for the Centre to come up with a “well-defined objective criteria” for the assessment of Class XII students of CBSE and the ICSE council.
“We hope that the state government will take into account all the aspects before making any decision. If the apex court gives any guidelines on what could be the methodology in two weeks there is no harm in waiting for a few more days,” the member said.
An official of the school education department explained why they were looking up to the chief minister for the final call.
“Let the chief minister go through the details. She had last week announced that Madhyamik and HS exams would be held. Then the expert committee was constituted following her instructions on Tuesday after the CBSE Class XII and ISC exams were cancelled. So, this time too she will take a call,” the official said.