Wednesday, Oct 01, 2014

State Board unwilling, model answers elude students again

Demand by Sajag Nagarik Manch was refused by the Board last year Demand by Sajag Nagarik Manch was refused by the Board last year
Express News Service | Pune | Posted: June 1, 2014 3:23 am

The Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) is baulking at making public model answers that examiners use as a roadmap to assess answer-sheets, a suggestion made last year and repeated this year. The Board did not give any concrete reason for the denial.

Students, often confused on whether to opt for verification of marks or seek photocopies of answer-sheets by shelling out a fee, are expected to benefit if model answers are made public.

MSBSHSE chairman Gangadhar Mhamane told Newsline Saturday that he is against making model answers public. “The model answers will not be released in public domain after declaration of results. We have not arrived at any decision yet whether to make model answers public in future,” he said. The demand to make model answers public was first made last year by advocacy group Sajag Nagarik Manch.  It was refused by MSBSHSE. The Manch had then obtained the model answers under the RTI Act.

Arguing that model answers provided under RTI Act cannot be termed as confidential documents, the advocacy group had been demanding the Board to make it public. In its latest correspondence with MSBSHSE ahead of Monday’s HSC results, Sajag Nagarik Manch has reiterated the demand saying it would be the larger interest of students.

“Last year, the state board refused to publish model answers, maintaining that those were confidential. But after the demand was pursued till the first appeal under RTI Act by citing the Supreme Court judgment, the Board agreed that model answers are not confidential. Keeping interest of students in view and transparency of the evaluation process, we request you to kindly publish model answers for all subjects of Class X and Class XII on the day of results,” the Manch in its memorandum to MSBSHSE on Saturday said.
Expressing strong dissent over the ‘reluctance’ in making model answers public, Manch president Vivek Velankar suspected some ulterior motive behind not adopting a student-centric measure.

“By not making model answers public, the Board has been showing utter negligence towards protecting interest of students. Such stiff resistance implies the state board officials are themselves not sure about accuracy of model answers. The board, it appears, is fearing it may get exposed by releasing model answers,” Velankar said. Ashwin Joshi, a Class XII student, said, “Students are not satisfied with assessment of all subjects, and there remains an element of doubt about marks in one or two subjects at least. These doubts could be cleared if model answers are officially released,” he said.

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