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‘It’s premature to make Class X exam optional’

In a recent report submitted to the state Education Department,a 14-member examination reforms committee has termed the proposal of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) to make Class X board exam optional,as “premature”.

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Examination reforms committee submits report to state Education dept

In a recent report submitted to the state Education Department,a 14-member examination reforms committee has termed the proposal of the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) to make Class X board exam optional,as “premature”.

The report — Examination Reforms in Gujarat — has also recommended doing away with the grace marks system,and concentrating on developing a transparent and merit-based method to admit students into Class XI.

A final decision on these is expected to be taken by the GSHSEB after its elections scheduled later this month.

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The committee comprising Sudhir Mankad (retired Chief Secretary,Gujarat),R Govinda (Vice-Chancellor of National University of Educational Planning and Administration),Priyavardhan Korat and R C Patel (both GSHSEB members) was formed in July 2009.

The report reads: “Modifications to the examination format seem justified. However,these modifications would reflect both the need to test real understanding and not rote the reality that some students are writing it to exit the system,while others to study further.” It adds: “Making Class X exams optional may be a bit premature at this stage because Class XI admissions today are not available to all students. While 8,995 schools offer Class X,only 4,379 of them have Classes XI and XII.”

The report further points out flaws of the grace marks system. “It is a system to “pass” students on compassionate grounds. Grace marks distort the correct picture both at the level of the individual student and the system as a whole. It has a negative,not positive effect. More so in a system based on grading,where no one is failed,” says the report.

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On the grey areas of the ‘diluted’ education system,the report says that from the point of view of “systems and processes,skills and competencies,as well as for technical and logistical issues”,these changes cannot be brought about immediately. “Rather,preparation in terms of textbook and curriculum changes,teacher training,modifications to administrative rules and pilots should be undertaken,” it adds.

The state Education department is awaiting the Board’s decision on the report. State Education Minister Ramanlal Vora said,“We will take a decision after the GSHSEB sends us its view on the matter. The implementation of the report’s recommendations depends on the Board’s decision.”

First published on: 12-01-2010 at 04:54 IST
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