Student organisations, including the AASU, and opposition parties on Monday demanded immediate withdrawal of a clause in the evaluation formulae for Class 10 and 12 examination process which says students willing to become teachers or join state government jobs will have to sit for the same examination when COVID-19 situation improves.
The Assam government on July 1 notified a record-based evaluation process for Class 10 and 12 students under the Board of Secondary Education, Assam, (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) respectively on the basis of the reports of two expert committees constituted by the Education Department.
Under this clause, students aspiring to become teachers or employees in the Education Department or any other state government department where recruitment is "substantially based on HSLC or HSSLC marks" will have to appear for a special matric or higher secondary examination after improvement of the pandemic situation.
Education Minister Ranoj Pegu claimed that the special examination is necessary so that the students of this year's Class 10 and 12 batches are at par with previous or future batches in assessment of merit for job selection process only, and not for getting admission into higher classes.
However, student bodies have refused to accept this argument and maintained that this clause has made the entire record-based evaluation process redundant and put the students, already under stress due to the uncertainty over the evaluation process, through more duress.
Terming this clause totally unacceptable, All Assam Students' Union (AASU) Chief Advisor Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya told PTI, "The evaluation process has been recommended by government-constituted committees. Marksheets based on it should keep all future avenues open for students.
"We demand the government to reconsider this clause and scrap it. The students were ready to sit for the exams.
It's not their fault. No injustice should be done to their interests."
He said that the AASU has already dashed off letters to the Chief Minister and the Education Minister on Friday with this demand.
All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) President Dipen Boro, speaking in the same vein, said, "There should not be separate marksheets for getting admission into higher classes and for applying for jobs in the future."
He questioned that if a student is deemed passed under the notified record-based evaluation process but later fails to clear the special Class 10 or 12 exam, then which marksheet will be applicable.
Expressing similar sentiments, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) General Secretary Palash Changmai said that this provision for a special examination for applying for government jobs in the future is "not at all acceptable".
"The students have already been through so much mental torture due to the delay in deciding whether examinations will be held or not. We cannot put them through more stress," he said, demanding withdrawal of this clause immediately.
The Students Federation of India (SFI) held a protest in Guwahati on Saturday against the new formulae for the two batches and asked the government to withdraw the clause.
Satra Mukti Sangram Samiti (SMSS) said the decision to hold a separate examination in 2022 will jeopardise the career of nearly seven lakh students of the two batches and demanded withdrawal of this "anti-student" notification.
Meanwhile, the Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia accused the Assam government of playing with the future of the innocent students.
"The present Chief Minister, who was the Education Minister earlier, knew very well that the exams could have been held in January or February. But instead of working for the cause of the students, which was his constitutional duty, he chose to work in the interest of his party, BJP," he told PTI.
AIUDF legislator Rafiqul Islam, terming the clause "unacceptable", said that the students will have to prepare for their next year's course as well as continue studying for Class 10 or 12, which will put tremendous pressure on them.
"The government should immediately withdraw this provision and follow the process being adopted by the other states," he added.
However, the Education Minister on Saturday asserted that the government will hold the examination in future to remove any discrepancy and avoid litigation.
"The government can give the marksheet based on the record-based evaluation process. But if those students who had passed earlier or will pass in the later years approach the court against competing with these students, saying that they never sat for the exam, what will we do then?" he asked.
The Clause 5 of both the notifications stated that the marks given through the record-based evaluation process will not be considered if these students decide to apply later for state government jobs, where the marks of Class 10 and 12 are the only assessment criteria.
As per the formula for students of Class 12, who have practical exams, 50 per cent of their total marks will come from the best of three subjects of Class 10, 30 per cent from Class 12 practical, 10 per cent from internal assessment and attendance in Class 11 and Class 12, and the rest 10 per cent to be provided by AHSEC.
The students of Class 12 from arts and commerce streams who do not have practical exams, will get 50 per cent of their marks from the best of three subjects in Class 10, 40 per cent from internal assessment in Class 11 and Class 12, and an additional 10 per cent to be given by AHSEC.
For students of Class 10, 40 per cent of their marks will be based on their performance in Class 9, 40 per cent on assessment of their performance in Class 10 and 20 per cent on school-based internal assessment.
Those students, who are dissatisfied with their marks or the process of evaluation, will have the option of appearing for regular exams by September 15 or when the exams can be held, with the notifications adding that results will be declared by July 31.