With just a few days to go before the results of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations in Maharashtra are announced, the fear of assessment and not being marked on a par with their peers studying under other boards is worrying students.
The state board has declared that the HSC exam results are likely to be declared between June 5 and 10. However, HSC students said they were denied a fair chance since the state education department held the offline exams in the usual manner with barely any syllabus cut, while other boards, considering the pandemic situation, divided the exams into two parts and significantly reduced the syllabus.
As the board has refused to offer any leniency in paper correction, students now complain that they would have to compete with those from other boards for admissions to degree courses which would not be fair, as the latter were likely to get better marks in Class 12.
Before board examinations were conducted, HSC students carried out several protests, including taking to the streets in Mumbai, Pune and other cities, and even moved a petition in the Supreme court to replace online exams with offline exams, but in vain. Finally the students, who had attended classes in online mode throughout the year, wrote offline exams in March 2022.
“Once the Class 12 results come out, unless one is preparing for medical or engineering, we will all compete for the same seats in degree colleges, so how is it fair to compare us to students of other boards? They had so much leniency when it came to the syllabus. Their exams are being conducted in two terms, just like how one gives school exams. And there is so much gap between exams and so much time to prepare, it is natural they will score better than us,” said Atreya Dixit, a HSC student.
Students complained that in the rush to complete exams on time, barely any gap was given between papers. “There were several subjects where we just had a day’s gap between papers, we did not get enough time to revise and had to actually skip revision of some parts of the syllabus. And in other boards, they have almost a week between papers. Also, they have a lot of objective-type questions, hence the pressure is lesser. We did not do any writing throughout the year and then were asked to write lengthy exam papers with no change in the paper pattern. Though the board gave extra time for exams, it is not enough,” said Shreyansh Jain, another student.
Many students said the extra time allotted for writing the exam was insufficient, especially for arts subjects like history or psychology or for language exams that demanded lengthy answers. “Throughout the year, we had done online studies and assignments – in fact, for two years. So though we had started to write the prelims and mock exams, during the actual exams most of us could not attempt the entire paper since we were writing really slow,” said another student requesting anonymity.
Meanwhile, chairman of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Examinations (MSBSHSE) said the assessment of the answer papers has been completed as per the usual pattern. “We had already given a lot of incentives to the students right from cutting the syllabus, extra time in examinations, reducing the total number of questions and so on. Now assessments have been completed and they have been done as per the regular pattern. Students should not worry if they have prepared well,” said Sharad Gosavi, MSBSHSE chairman.