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Bombay HC reprimands Maharashtra government for delaying SSC evaluation formula

May 21, 2021
-Dipta Joshi

The Bombay High Court has slammed the Maharashtra state government’s decision cancelling the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) secondary school certificate (SSC) class 10 board exams for 2021. The Court said, “In the name of the pandemic, we can’t spoil the careers and future of our children.”

The High Court also made it clear, the prospect of grade 10 students being promoted without any exams would hurt the education system in the state. A division bench of Justice S J Kathawalla and S P Tavade have been hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Pune-based retired teacher Dhananjay Kulkarni against the Maharashtra State Board, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE). The PIL argues the decision to cancel class 10 exams while promising to hold class 12 exams (at a later date) is unfair to class 10 students who have been consistent in their academics.

In view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the state, CBSE and the ICSE boards cancelled class 10 examinations.  Following suit, the Maharashtra government too announced cancellation of the state board class 10 exams on April 20. However, while the other boards finalised assessment procedures to evaluate their class 10 students, the state government has still not determined the formula state board schools would need to follow while assigning students marks towards internal assessments. The delay has led to doubts about the fairness and objectivity of results in the absence of exams. Both parents and students are concerned about being assigned lower grades which will impact their admissions to the state’s junior colleges.

Since the announcement cancelling exams, the state’s education minister, Varsha Gaikwad has held consultations with various stakeholders to draw up a ‘fair and objective assessment criterion’. Defending the delay in arriving at the formula for student evaluations, the state told the Bombay High Court, it was still awaiting suggestions from the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), Maharashtra to come up with the formula with regards to the marking system.

However, reprimanding the state for the delay, the High Court turned down the government’s request for more time to find an equivalent formula supporting students from all the three boards – SSC, CBSE and ICSE, and asked it to submit its response regarding the evaluation formula at the next hearing to be held on May 24.  

Meanwhile, the India-wide Parents Association, who have supported the government’s decision to cancel physical exams but insisted that it find alternative assessment methods had filed an intervention against the PIL.

Also read: Maharashtra HSC students stressed about delay in exams

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