Amid the lockdown, the Maharashtra state board has been faced with the herculean task of completing assessments of SSC and HSC answer-sheets. Also, for the first time in its history, the board announced cancellation of an SSC examination paper.
What’s the latest on SSC (Class 10) and HSC (Class 12) exams?
The evaluation process of SSC and HSC answer-sheets is in its final stages, officials from the school education department have said. Minister Varsha Gaikwad recently announced the department’s intention to release HSC results by mid-July and SSC results by July-end. The admissions of First Year Junior College (FYJC) and first year of degree colleges will begin subsequently. For the Mumbai division, which has the highest number of students across all divisions, over 85 per cent of assessment (around 42 lakh out of nearly 50 lakh answer-sheets) and moderation work for classes X and XII have been completed, said Mumbai divisional secretary Sandeep Sangave.
How many students appeared for state board exams this year?
Across the nine divisional centres of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Examination (MSBSHSE) — Mumbai, Pune, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Amravati, Nashik, Latur and Konkan — 17,65,898 students registered to appear for SSC exams at a total of 4,979 examination centres. Of this, 3,91,191 lakh SSC students belonged to Mumbai division which comprises six areas — Raigad, Palghar, Thane rural, Thane City, Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban. Whereas, 15,05,027 students registered for HSC examinations this year across 3,036 examination centres. Of this, 3,39,014 students belong to the Mumbai division.
Why was the evaluation of answer-sheets delayed this year?
While the HSC exams, which were held from February 18 to March 18, were completed before the lockdown kicked in, the last paper for SSC exams (scheduled from March 3 to March 23) that was Geography had to be cancelled. Answer-sheets for the History paper, conducted on March 21, remained in the custody of examination centres due to restrictions on travel, imposed due to the nationwide lockdown. Initially, Gaikwad had announced that the examination date for the pending Geography paper will be announced after March 31. However, as the lockdown continued, the decision to cancel the paper was announced in the second week of April. In May-end, the marking scheme for Geography paper was announced. The board stated that the marks would be given based on average marks received in other subjects of the examination, which would then be suitably converted for the cancelled exam. While other districts slowly resumed the assessment process, Mumbai being the epicentre of Covid-19 outbreak was under strict curbs.
What has been the standard procedure for evaluation and what were the usual dates for results?
As per norms, the custodians of answer-sheets send them from the examination centres to the examiners, who check them in their respective schools. The examiners then send the answer-sheets to the moderators, who submit them to the divisional office. After the divisional centres send the answer-sheets to the Pune headquarters of the state board, it takes about 30 days to announce the results. The board is required to declare Class 12 results by the end of May and Class 10 results by mid-June as per a Supreme Court order.
What was the strategy adopted by the state board for evaluation this year?
In early May, additional chief secretary of school education department Vandana Krishna wrote to all civic commissioners to allow movement of teachers for transporting answer-sheets and board officials for overseeing the process. While most divisional centres were relatively less affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, Mumbai was the epicentre.
Mumbai divisional board devised a ‘one step submission’ process to aid examiners and moderators. The board sought help from postal services to deliver answer-sheets from the examination centres to the examiners. The examiners then used different means to send these papers to the moderators. To help aid the moderators, the number of submission centres were increased in the division, and they were allowed to submit checked answer-sheets to whichever submission centre was closer to their residence. The process was started in the then-orange zones — Raigad, Palghar, Thane rural and Thane City — before beginning the work in Mumbai. Moreover, to aid MSBSHE officials in speeding up assessments of classes 10 and 12 papers, the school education department decided to make them a part of the essential services sector. This enabled the board to call more employees to its offices.
What is the status of class 10 and 12 results of other boards?
Last month, the Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) said it will conduct the remaining Class 10 exams from July 2 to July 12 and Class 12 exams from July 1 to 14. However, this decision has been challenged in the Bombay High Court and the council has stated that it shall give students a choice between appearing for exams or being marked based on their performance in “pre-boards”. The council is now expected to release the detailed methodology for alternative assessment by Saturday to all schools.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday told CBSE to consider scrapping the remaining papers of class 10 and 12 board exams and to allot marks on the basis of internal assessment. The court was hearing a petition by a parent seeking scrapping of exams (scheduled from July 1 to July 15) in the present situation. In March-end itself, the UK-based Cambridge board announced that the May-June series examinations of IGCSE (grade 10), AS (grade 11) and A level (grade 12) were cancelled across the country in view of Covid-19 outbreak.
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