Assam board kicks up row with Assamese subject rule for Class 10 exams

GUWAHATI: A student, whose mother tongue is Assamese, can now clear the matriculation examination in Assam even without the marks for the Assamese subject in the Class 10 board exams getting added to the total.

A latest circular issued by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (Seba), has irked leading organizations in the state, as they feel Assamese, as a mother tongue, would suffer heavily because of the notification, which has allowed a student to pass the matric exam even if he just appears in the Assamese paper as seventh subject, the marks of which won’t affect the overall results.

These rules will be effective from the Class 9 registration for the year 2021. A student, appearing in the Class 10 boards under Seba, was appearing in six papers till now and the marks of all these subjects were being counted.

Schools belonging to areas other than 6th Scheduled Areas, the Barak Valley and Bodo medium schools of other areas, where most students are Assamese speaking, if the student does not opt for Assamese as MIL (Modern Indian Language), he or she can choose Assamese as an elective subject. In such a case, the total number of subjects for such candidates will be six. But if a student neither opts for Assamese as MIL nor opts for Assamese as an elective subject, then such a candidate has to opt for Assamese (Elective) as one additional subject and it will be the 7th paper with 100 marks. In such cases, the total subjects for such candidates will be seven, but, the marks obtained in this additional seventh paper will not be counted for purposes of merit, which leading student organizations like the All Assam Students’ Union (Aasu) have vehemently opposed.

“It (marks secured in the seventh paper) will be shown separately in the mark sheet. However, the candidates must appear in the examination of the 7th paper to qualify in the HSLC Examination (matric),” read the notification by Seba, further clarifying that the candidates who will secure 45% and above in the seventh paper would get an extra certificate of proficiency.

For the schools belonging to the 6 th Scheduled Areas, Barak Valley and Bodo medium schools too, if the student selects MIL/IL subject other than Assamese, then the student will get option of selecting one more additional subject (7th paper)- Assamese (E)- which Seba said will not be a compulsory subject. “Students, who desire may opt for the 7th paper,” the board notified.

Aasu lashed out at Seba, calling the directive a deviation from the consensus reached by several educationists, Aasu representatives and Seba almost a decade ago, wherein, on-principle, a decision was taken to make pass marks in Assamese mandatory for students, whose mother tongue is Assamese, to qualify for the matric exam.

“As per the latest notification by Seba, even the students whose mother tongue is Assamese, will now be able to complete education without studying Assamese. Aasu vehemently opposes such an anti-Assamese language move,” said Aasu president Dipanka Kumar Nath and general secretary Sankar Jyoti Baruah. Aasu has threatened to launch a protest, if the notification is not withdrawn.

Apex literary body, Asam Sahitya Sabha (ASS), has decried the move by Seba, which may propel Assamese-speaking students to avoid studying their mother tongue. “Regarding the latest SEBA circular, it is reiterated that the Asam Sahitya Sabha will not accept any attempt to dislodge the rightful and legal status of Assamese language. For immediate appropriate action I have already spoken to the chairman, SEBA, conveying concern of people,” ASS president and Sahitya Akademi winning author Kuladhar Saikia tweeted.

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