‘Don’t fleece students, promote mediocrity in the Guru’s name’: Punjab leaders, teachers tell PSEBhttps://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ludhiana/dont-fleece-students-promote-mediocrity-in-the-gurus-name-punjab-leaders-teachers-tell-pseb-5932817/

‘Don’t fleece students, promote mediocrity in the Guru’s name’: Punjab leaders, teachers tell PSEB

The PSEB has issued a public notice offering students who got “reappear” or compartment in their exams beginning March 2004 onwards to take the exams again. It has fixed Rs 15,000 as exam fee in name of the Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations.

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According to the PSEB rules, a class X student is declared fail if he or she fails in three or more subjects and given a chance to “reappear” if he/she fails in less than three subjects. (Express photo: Jasbir Malhi/representational)

A move by the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) to give a “golden chance” to the students, who got ‘reappear/compartment’ in the class X and XII board examinations and “could not clear it despite chances given to them thereafter as per rules” in the past 15 years, to reappear in the tests as a special gesture on 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak, has stirred a controversy with opposition leaders terming it a mockery of the education system and castigating the “promotion of failures and mediocrity” in name of the founder of Sikhism.

The PSEB has issued a public notice offering students who got “reappear” or compartment in their exams beginning March 2004 onwards to take the exams again. It has fixed Rs 15,000 as exam fee in name of the Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations.

“A golden chance is being given to the regular (who appeared in exams in March 2004 and thereafter) and open category students (March 2004 to 2016) and got ‘re-appear’ as result and could not clear the exams despite the two chances given to them as per rules,” the notice reads.

Students wishing to improve their result can also appear in the Golden Chance Supplementary exams, which will be held in September. The question papers will be as per 2018-19 syllabus.

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According to the PSEB rules, a class X student is declared fail if he or she fails in three or more subjects and given a chance to “reappear” if he/she fails in less than three subjects. He/she is given two chances to clear ‘re-appear’. For class XII, a student is declared fail if he fails in two or more subjects.

The move has evoked strong reactions from educationists and political leaders.

“It is a complete mockery of examination system. Will a student who failed to clear class X or XII almost 15 years back be waiting to clear the exams now? It is just a way to collect money. If it was really in name of Guru Nanak, it would have been free of cost. On one hand we talk of Right to Education (RTE) and on the other hand you are demanding Rs 15,000 in name of Guru Nanak,” said Sukhdarshan Singh, a science teacher for class X and state president Nakal Virodhi Teachers Front (Anti-Copying Teachers Front).

Sukhdarshan Singh also questioned how someone who couldn’t clear the exams in 2004 is supposed to do that based on 2018-19 syllabus. “Guru Nanak never told his followers to mint money like this,” he added.

Dharamjit Singh, Ludhiana district president, Master Cadre Union, questioned the “unjustifiably too high” fee. “It is charged in the name of Guru Nanak Dev, which is even worse and unacceptable. You cannot charge Rs 15,000 in name of giving a golden chance to old students and eye monetary profits,” he said.

Shiromani Akali Dal leader and former education minister Daljeet Cheema too termed it a mockery of examination system, “PSEB should follow academic standards. Giving such ‘golden chances’ that too after 15 years affects its reputation. If so many chances are given, students get non serious and examination system become a mockery”.

Cheema said that PSEB’s move doesn’t match the philosophy of Guru Nanak. “Guru Nanak’s name should not be used for such acts. Also exams are not a business to earn money. Earlier also we were under tremendous pressure to give such chances but board standards have to be maintained. What will a person get after clearing class X after 15 years,” he asked

Punjabi Ekta Party (PEP) president Sukhpal Singh Khaira said that PSEB notice is ‘obnoxious, meaningless and unfortunate”. “An academic board is promoting failures and mediocrity that too in name of Guru Nanak. It is just a way to earn money. It is obnoxious, meaningless and unfortunate to use Guru Nanak’s name and make money this way. I do not see any student’s welfare in this,” he said.

PSEB chairman Manohar Kant Kalohia did not respond to the calls despite several attempts.

PSEB spokesperson Raminderjit Singh Wasu said that he was not bound to answer all the queries by the journalists. “I am holding an additional charge as a spokesperson and thus I am not bound to answer all the queries. PSEB chairman can comment on fee decided but the board is not forcing anyone to pay,” he said.