The argument of the Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) for not yielding to the demand of making model answers of Class XII board examinations public was rendered redundant with a group that advocates reform in education saying it has got model answers of science papers and would post them on Facebook. Board officials have been saying that the model answers — which serve as keys for evaluators while awarding marks — were “confidential” and hence cannot be made public.
The group has said that model answers of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology it got through RTI would be posted on Facebook by Monday if the board does not make it public on its own on its official website, as demanded by students.
The Board has been against making public model answers on the premise that answer-keys are confidential documents. It had, however, said that due consideration would be given to the demand in future.
“I have model-answers of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology of Class XII with me obtained under RTI Act. Since all information received under the transparency act is in public domain and there is no confidentiality, I will publish the same on Facebook page of our group by next week. To avoid the embarrassment, I once again request MSBSHSE to proactively publish model answers of important subjects of Class X and Class XII on its website,” Vievek Velankar of Sajag Nagarik Manch, said. Velankar, who sent a letter to the MSBSHSE on Friday, said Class XII Science model answers of four subjects will be posted on Manch’s Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/sajagnagrikmanch by early next week.
Model answers are solutions to questions asked in examinations, and used as a roadmap by examiners assessing answer-sheets. The Manch, on behalf of thousands of students, has been demanding that answer keys be made public to help students in overcoming confusion about whether to go for verification of marks, or seek photocopies of answer-sheets by paying required fees.
MSBSHSE chairman Gangadhar Mhamane said model answers of the February-March 2014 examinations could not be made public in absence of a policy decision. “We will have to consider pros and cons before arriving at any decision. We conduct board examinations in eight languages. The examination also involves descriptive answers and model answers often do not elaborate in detail the assessment pattern for such questions. In short, there has to be a distinct policy for sharing model answers,” he told Pune Newsline on Friday.
Velankar said MSBSHSE authorities had come out with an ‘irresponsible’ defence. “The State board chairman is the highest competent authority for taking any policy decision in MSBSHSE functioning. The State board is simply failing to understand the gravity of issue and willing to continue its functioning in an irresponsible manner without paying heed to interest of students,” he said.
The demand for making model answers public had first come after results February-March 2013 examinations. The MSBSHSE had flatly denied the Manch model answers. The Manch subsequently obtained them under the RTI Act. Arguing that model answers could no longer be termed as confidential, the advocacy group had been demanding that the board make the answers public.