Theory exams for HSC have been cancelled and no guidelines regarding practical and internal assessments has been formalized yet.
Zafar Khan, founder-president of School Headmasters Charitable Association (SHCA), said, “I have still not understood the concept of online practicals. The word itself means to do something ‘practically’, with your own hands. This is not something which can be done at home, especially for physics and chemistry, and its necessary to come to college.” He says the only solution is to allocate practical marks to oral tests which can be taken online.
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Khan said the other challenge is to evaluate theory exams. “Marks would naturally be given using prelims as the benchmark, along with other assessments done throughout the year. But there are many junior colleges which never opened this year, so we don’t know how they will be marked,” said Khan.
Another school principal, who did not wish to be identified, said cancellation of board exams was not the wisest decision. “They could have gone for physical internal assessments and given junior colleges the freedom to decide their own timetable. So, instead of 10-12 lakh students appearing for an exam on the same day, a two-month window could have been given to conduct theory exams. Junior colleges hardly have a few hundred students on roll, that too spread over different streams, which can be called for exams,” said the principal.
He added that colleges always take extreme precaution while conducting exams. “Technically, students can go to malls, restaurants, cinema halls and resorts but cannot enter college campus. It just does not make any sense,” said the principal.
Ashnarayan Tiwari, principal of Adarsh Vidya Mandir (Gandhibagh), said the ground realities too have to be kept in mind. “Calling students on campus for lab practical is fraught with risk as it will be difficult to maintain distancing norms all the time. Students will be touching the same flasks, chemical bottles etc. I think the choice was between health and education of students. Both central and state governments made the obvious choice,” said Tiwari.