In a recorded video message, minister for school education Varsha Gaikwad announced the decision taken in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday. HSC examinations remain postponed.
Gaikwad said the process of awarding marks to SSC students based on internal assessment will be announced soon and a decision on optional exam of students who are not happy with the marks they receive will also be taken at a later date.
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“Given the worsening situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Maharashtra government has now decided to cancel the state board exams for class X. The health and safety of our students and teachers is our topmost priority. As the current atmosphere is not conducive for exams, we had earlier postponed our exams while requesting other boards to reschedule theirs. In response to our communication, other boards have now cancelled their exams, so maintaining parity, we have cancelled ours too,” she said.
Parents and teachers have expressed relief, but educators are pointing to a grim reality saying that marks based on internal assessment may not be possible in many cases because there are students who have neither attended online classes nor enough offline classes.
This further raised questions about the fairness of the internal marking system. The standard X marks are important as many students from rural areas shift to cities for junior college admissions, where cut-off marks in renowned colleges in the city are high.
Gaikwad said the criterion on the basis of which results will be declared for standard X and the date of result declaration will be announced soon.
“The school education department is committed to devising a “fair and accurate” assessment criterion,” she added.
Shamshuddin Attar, a teacher from the Konkan region, said keeping the assessment across the region will be difficult because every teacher would want the student to pass and get good marks.
“Board exams gave students a somewhat level playing field and it doesn’t matter where the student hails from because the question paper and the assessment are the same. Here, even if we go for an internal assessment method, each teacher has used a different way for assessment,” he said.
Now that we have brought our syllabus at par, it is time to bring even assessment methods at par with each other, so that in such situations state board students have a semblance of equality in the marks obtained, he added.