GUWAHATI: Young Madhab Chandra Kalita left his native village Sagarkuchi near Ghagrapar town in lower Assam’s Nalbari district in 1989. Amid financial woes, he managed to graduate from the Pragjyotish College. A few years later, Madhab bought an autorickshaw and it continues to be the only source of livelihood for his family in Khanapara here. Madhab and his wife have great expectations from their son Bedanta, who could have been a top-ranker in the Class X board exams. The Assam Jatiya Bidyalay, Noonmati, produces rank-holders in the state boards and as one of the best students of the leading vernacular school, Madhab was certain his son would bring fame to the family.
But the cancellation of the state board exams this year has shattered them. Madhab and his wife were in tears at the setback. They felt let down because the most meritorious member of their family would not be able to write the exam. “Our children could have safely appeared for the exams in February when there was no Covid threat around. Why were the exams not held at the beginning of the year in February-March like other years?” they questioned the Board of Secondary Education.
Officials in Seba argued that February-March was not the appropriate time for the boards, as plenty of course curriculum was yet to be covered after months of academic loss in the first wave. Schools were closed across the state from March to September last year. Bedanta, however, feels if many schools could conduct the pre-board examinations in February, the board exams could have been held in a span of two weeks in March.
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“Practicals were over in March. Schools were reopened earlier this year and a couple of months later, electioning set in. No one was bothered about the possibility of the onset of the second wave,” said Bedanta. The course was already shortened by 30% for the board examinees and there was little burden on the students. Thousands of students took to Twitter in June seeking the cancellation of the boards. But many students like Bedanta desperately wanted the exams. The results would have taken him to the next level of education. His father was convinced he would be top-ranker and with sponsorship, he could easily continue with his higher studies.
Sources in the education department said that at the closed-door meeting chaired by state education minister, Ranoj Pegu on Friday, some of the student leaders expressed disappointment at the U-turn of Seba and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC). “Both the education boards were insisting on holding the exams. But the state cabinet’s refusal made them step back on Wednesday,” said an insider.
Principal secretary, state education department, B Kalyan Chakravarthy, said, “At that time, the election was declared and almost all teachers were engaged in poll duty. The second wave was not predictable,” he said, adding that they wanted to give time to the students to prepare for the exams. “This is a situation beyond control. Anyway, we will ensure that the best available alternative system will be put in place to do justice to the students,” he said.
Source From : Times Of India