Addressing a press conference via video-conferencing on Tuesday, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad admitted that there had been a delay in the correction of answer sheets for Class X and Class XII board exams, and said the state Education Department was trying to declare the results by July end.
Gaikwad, who addressed the press conference to discuss the schedule for schools reopening, a day after the state government issued a GR giving the tentative suggested schedule as well as an SOP for schools to reopen across the state, was asked about the delay in declaring board examination results.
“Because of the Covid-19 situation, we faced a problem in getting the answer sheets to examiners, but it was done by May-end. We are hoping to complete the process as soon as possible as even we are aware of the delay. Hopefully, before the end of July, we should be able to declare the results,” she said.
While the Education department has clearly said that schools in green zones, where no Covid-19 cases have been reported for a month, can reopen and teachers should report to work, there is no clarity on schools in red or containment zones. Over the past few days, many teachers in such zones have complained of being forced to come to the school to work, instead of holding online classes.
Maharashtra Education Commissioner Vishal Solanki, who was present at the press conference, said they have received such complaints and a separate SOP will be issued for schools in such areas.
The minister also acknowledged receiving complaints about fee hikes from many parents despite government instructions on not hiking any fees for this academic year. “We have issued helpline numbers for different districts but it is continuing to happen. Parents tell us some schools are adamant. And now, we will personally look into these complaints. Parents should give us the names of schools, ” she said.
Asked about the demand of parents to issue instructions to schools to reduce fees, since classes were being held online and infrastructure expenses were lower, Solanki said the decision rests solely with the executive committee of the Executive Parent Teacher Association (PTA). “The fee regulation Act gives this right to only the elected PTA, we can’t interfere. They should compare the fees with expenses and rationalise it,” he said.
In its GR, the state Education department has specified that there will be no online classes for students below Class II, and a maximum of one to three hours of online teaching is allowed for older children, depending on age groups.
However, many parents have pointed out that online classes have already begun, especially for non-state board schools, and they run for a longer duration. “We want to make it clear here that these instructions are not just for state-run schools but for schools of all boards, IB, ICSE or CBSE, which are in Maharashtra. This decision has been taken after consulting several experts, keeping the well-being of students in mind, and so everyone will have to follow it,” said Gaikwad.
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