The Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) on Tuesday refused to give in to demands for a re-test, after students protested that they had been asked out-of-syllabus questions in Class XII Sociology exam paper for English and Hindi mediums.
The board has investigated and concluded that as the out-of-syllabus questions were for 15 marks, papers will be scored out of 85 marks instead of out of 100, based on which they would be proportionately awarded on 100. “There will be no re-test,” GSHSEB chairman A J Shah told The Indian Express. “Two pages that were from the old syllabus was for 10 marks and question number 46 of five marks was missing, thus adding up to 15 marks. As students had to suffer for 15 marks, we have decided to proportionately award on 100, whatever marks they get out of 85.”
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Students who appeared for the exam on Sunday found that two entire pages of the question paper were not from the curriculum they had been taught. Over 2,000 students of Hindi and English mediums of instruction are affected. Some questions were missed as a few question numbers were repeated, too.
PK Lodha, a Sociology teacher at the city’s Rajasthan High School, who has been in the profession for the past 15 years, described the problems with the question paper. “Apart from questions that were out of syllabus, question number 3 from Section A in the English medium was missing, Section C was repeated, thus omitting the last Section E. Similarly, two questions from Hindi medium were missing.” It is due to these “blatant errors” that students are demanding a re-test, he said.
Students are also complaining that when the question papers of all mediums are usually similar, the sociology exam was different for all three mediums this time. The Gujarati medium students for the same exam did not face any problems, whereas their counterparts in English and Hindi medium had a harrowing time trying to answer questions covered from a curriculum that had been replaced two years ago.
Embarrassed by these errors, the school education board said the fault lay with the printing agency and said it was seeking legal help to take possible action against the printing agency.
“While printing the question paper, the printer did not change one printing plate and used one of the other question papers of the same subject that was framed for students taking the exam with the old curriculum,” Shah explained. The state school education board said the printing error could have been caused because various sets of question papers had to be printed, namely for the old curriculum, for the semester system that is slowly being phased out, for the new curriculum, for the different mediums of instruction, and also for those students in the CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) stream.
For instance, four different examinations were conducted for over 10 lakh Class X students of the Gujarat state board. These included students who were taking exams under the new revised syllabus introduced in 2018, those who were repeating exams under the old curriculum, those who had the NCERT curriculum of CBSE-based examination pattern and also those who took the NCERT curriculum of Class X board exams but based on the GSHSEB pattern. “With all these different categories, this year 137 question papers were framed and printed for Class X and XII,” a senior board official said.
Sources said that since the printing agency had been empanelled after due process, the board will impose a heavy fine on it, especially to send a strong message to other printing agencies.