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West Bengal: Government to start semester system for classes XI & XII

October 19, 2023
Mita Mukherjee

The West Bengal government is set to implement two important recommendations of the state education policy in school education including introducing semester system examinations at the Higher Secondary (HS) level (XI and XII) and start ranking higher secondary schools like institutions of higher education.

The government has set up two separate committees of which one will develop the framework for starting the new semester examinations at the plus two level and the other panel will finalise the procedures and the methodology for conducting the ranking of the schools. While the five-member panel will draw up the modalities the West Bengal Council of Higher Education will oversee the implementation of the entire ranking process.

The government issued two orders announcing its decision on implementing the policies on Tuesday where it has been said that the two decisions are set to come into effect from the 2024-25 academic session.

“Whereas, the State Government has notified the State Education Policy, 2023….which has emphasized the need to introduce semester system in a phased manner to reduce the burden of the students……The Competent authority in School Education Department has decided to constitute a committee …. to develop an implementation framework along with suggested timeline…,” the order regarding the introduction of the semester system said.

According to the education policy of the state the semester system examinations will be initially introduced in Classes XI and XII and later in Classes IX and X.

President of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, Chiranjib Bhattacharya who had been emphasizing on the introduction of semester system at the Class XI and XII level since 2021 said that the existing single exam system needs to be replaced by a continuous evaluation process at this level to enable students to perform better in the subject in which they would want to pursue higher studies.

“ Suppose a student wants to study English honours in some reputable institution after completing Class XII. To fulfill his desire the student would obviously study hard and score high marks all throughout in the internal exams in Classes XI and XII. But on the day of the English test during the Class XII board exam the student could fail to perform well due to some illness or some mishap in the family. Such incidents can always happen, but they can jeopardise the whole career of the students. These risks can be avoided in the semester system examinations,” Bhattachrya told EducationWorld.    

According to him the council has already started the process of overhauling the Higher Secondary curriculum so that the new system can be implemented without glitches from the 2024 -25 session.

As for the ranking of Higher Secondary schools, it has been recommended in the state education policy that a state level accreditation authority should evaluate the schools offering the HS course and rank them on the basis of certain parameters as it is done to rank universities, research centres and colleges.

Subhrojit Dutta, headmaster of Hindu School, one of the most well-known government-run schools in Kolkata welcomed the government’s decision to start the ranking of HS institutions.

“ There are different categories of schools in Bengal, government-run, government-sponsored DA getting and private. The ranking is likely to be done on the basis of certain parameters. The ranking will help the school to maintain uniformity of the infrastructure and other facilities,” Dutta told EducationWorld.

Also read: West Bengal board proposes two-part exams for class 12 finals

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