Amid the second wave of coronavirus, Maharashtra is focused on conducting board exams offline. The state’s education minister is on just one mission: Board examinations of classes 10 and 12. As of April 2, Maharashtra recorded 3,66,533 active cases. With this, the state’s tally has touched 28,56,163. Despite the rise in cases, preparations for Maharashtra’s board exams in the month of April have begun.
While the school education minister Varsha Gaikwad clarified regarding the exam centre confusion, the question bothering the parents is safety. Gaikwad, like always, conveyed all messages to the parents and children through her social media accounts. “Students will give the written exams in the same school/college only. Exams will be held offline,” said Gaikwad on Twitter. This means, unlike the usual exam centres, students this year will attempt their exams at their own respective colleges.
Parents on the other hand are more worried about their child’s safety rather than offline board exams. “We have a group on social media where all parents chat and share stuff. Nowadays our usual worries are safety – both in schools and while travelling to school,” Gayatri Kamble, a parent of a class 10 student told The Sparrow News. “Our school has assured us to give a pass that will let children travel hassle-free in public transport like bus or train, but looking at the crowd situation in both the medium is scary,” she added.
Trouble Rolls In
City-based children and the ones whose college/schools are far away from their houses will face trouble commuting as well. “Have you seen the conditions of the train here (Mumbai) and in that state we are expected to travel for board exams? The government should relook at their decision of offline board exams as we are totally against it,” a Mumbai-based student said on the condition of anonymity. On March 21 a bunch of students from the state board schools and colleges staged protests at CSMT, Mumbai. The protest was against the state school education department for conducting offline exams. Students demanded exams be done online like their classes were conducted throughout the pandemic.
While the students are stressing about the Maharashtra board exams to be conducted offline, the higher officials are turning a blind eye towards the scenario. As per our sources, teachers, principals, and the state education department is continuously taking meetings in order to have a smooth examination that is termed to begin from April 23 onwards. “Most of the schools, almost 95 per cent, have already begun preparations including sanitising the classrooms, marking the benches, allotment of teachers, etc., for the upcoming examinations,” said an official from the Maharashtra Board office.
Prep In Exam Centre
Tensions are among the schools that also have junior college attached to them. Given the dates of exams i.e, April 29 to May 20 for class 10 and April 23 to May 21 for class 12, the probability of overcrowding, mismanagement, or clashes is worrying the principals. “We won’t say we are 100 per cent prepared because that will be known to us on the D-day or in this situation, “D-days”! Our teachers are doing an excellent job by coordinating with students and parents especially of class 10 (since it’s their first time, they get anxious) in order to keep the overall process worry-free,” said a principal of a South Bombay college.
The rules laid by the education minister have given clarity to parents and children but the barricade here is – fake news. “Every day on social media, news channels, we see various kinds of news floating, regarding board exams. Some day they say exams are postponed, or times have changed, or the mode (online/offline) has changed, or the marking system has changed, etc.,” Sanjana Adikari, a class 12 student said. Adhikari who is in the Arts stream is not worried about exam preps but rather anxious about the news she comes across every day. “Our teachers and mentors have advised us to not read or see any news in any projection and only listen to them. But the fear that kicks in is dangerous,” Adhikari added, who aims to pursue psychology in the future.
As per the state education department, there won’t be any change in the format of the board exams no matter what happens. Moreover, students will be given extra 30 minutes for 80 marks paper, 15 minutes extra for 40/50 marks. Students with special needs will be given 20 minutes extra. The exams which usually start at 11 am will start (or the reporting time in the exam hall) will be 10.30 am. This move is to give students some extra time in their hands to fulfil the COVID-19 protocols in schools/colleges by the authorities. Additionally, the curriculum too was cut short by 25 per cent, and given that, questions too will be only from the reduced syllabus.
In the case of absentees, specifically due to COVID-19 infections or containment restrictions – students will be given another chance to appear in the missed exam in the month of June. The papers submitted in the month of June in such cases will be considered as the main exam. With the plan to conduct board exams offline, Maharashtra is also eyeing to vaccinate all the board officials, teachers, supervisors, and everyone (adults) that will be involved physically for the examinations.