West Bengal board exams: Government seeks public opinion before taking call

Three days after forming an expert panel to check the feasibility of conducting board exams amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the West Bengal school education department on Sunday shared email ids and sought public opinion on the matter within 24 hours. The six-member expert committee, comprising the head of the secondary board, the chief of state child rights protection panel, a doctor and academics, has already submitted its report to the government on Saturday, but its recommendations have not been made public.

A member of the panel, however, told that he and the others have unanimously agreed that conducting offline exams, both for Class 10 and Class 12 students, was not realistic, under the present circumstances.

Opinions, however, differed about the next course of action — if an open book examination system would be more apt for the students or an online assessment.

The school education department, in a notice issued on Sunday, said, views of the public are being sought on “whether to conduct or not conduct the Madhyamik/Uchha Madhyamik examinations 2021. If yes, suggestions should be made on the mode of conducting the examinations.”

The department has also sought views about the possible criteria for assessment.

“While the expert committee is considering and discussing the matter, the government of West Bengal invites views from the general public, guardians/parents, students on the above points by 2 pm tomorrow, 7th June 2021,” the notice said, sharing the email ids.

Authorities had on June 3 cancelled a joint press conference, which was scheduled for announcing dates for Class 10 and 12 board examinations.

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Last week, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had declared a possible time period for holding Madhyamik (Class 10), and Higher Secondary (Class 12) exams.

Taking to Twitter, she said on Sunday, “Our children’s future is my greatest priority. To this regard, we have formed an expert committee to decide over holding the Class 10th & 12th board exams in 2021.”

“We are also inviting views & opinion from parents, general public, sector experts, civil society & students. https://t.co/eVpEIbJkBK. I request each one of you to send us your feedback on the issue by e-mailing us on following addresses by June 7th, 2021, 2 PM,” she added.

Over 12 lakh students are set to appear for Madhyamik and 8.5 lakh for Higher Secondary examinations this year.

CBSE and CISCE have recently cancelled 12 board exams in the wake of the pandemic.



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