Providing a slew of relief to students appearing for Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education’s (MSBSHSE) secondary school certificate (SSC) class 10 and higher secondary certificate (HSC) class 12 board exams, the state’s education minister, Varsha Gaikwad today issued revised examination guidelines in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the new guidelines, the state’s class 10 students will not have practical exams this year. Granting some relief to class 12 students too, the number of science practical experiments required for the year has been limited to five or six.
Tweeting about the decisions, the minister announced, “Conducting practical in school has been tough this year and therefore we have decided that students need to be given a concession here…to start with, we have decided to do away with science practical exams for SSC replacing them with internal assignments.”
Post the class 10 written exams which will take place 29 April- 20 May, students will be required to submit their internal assignments to their respective schools between 21 May-10 June. Similarly, HSC students who will write their boards April 23- 21 May will be required to submit their internal assignments 22 May-10 June. An additional grace period of 15 days to students who are unwell during the submissions while differently abled students will also get special concessions for submissions.
Unlike each year when students are allocated examination centres by the board, all exams will be held offline at the students’ respective schools this year, tweeted the minister. Announcing further relief to students, the written assessment duration has been extended by 30 minutes for 80 marks assessment papers and 15 more minutes for 40/50 marks assessment papers. Students absent due to Covid-19 infection will be allowed to write a special exam in June at no extra cost, these exams will be conducted at select centres only.
The minister ruled out any further reduction in the curriculum as being demanded by parents stating, “Due to COVID-19, the curriculum was earlier cut by 25 percent. Questions will only be from this reduced syllabus.”
The minister further mentioned all teachers and board officials supervising the exams would be treated as frontline workers and vaccinated on priority basis. Another proposal under consideration was the free use of public transport for students within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) region.
This year, 29-30 lakh students are expected to write the annual class 10 and class 12 exams. However, with 25,833 new cases reported on 18 March – the highest in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic last March, there is a growing demand for exams to be postponed.
“While the concessions announced today are welcome, the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic hitting the state and the lockdowns and curfews announced across several cities in Maharashtra are definitely a cause for worry. Parents have been questioning the logic behind conducting exams and risking the health of students even as the government issues operating restrictions on private offices etc.,” says Prashant Redij, spokesperson, Maharashtra State Principals Association.
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