Though West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier announced that there will be Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations this year but the state government, on Wednesday formed an expert committee to decide whether the board exams are possible in this pandemic situation.
The expert committee has been asked to give its report within 72 hours.
On Wednesday, the day when the exam schedule for Madhyamik and Higher Secondary was supposed to be announced, the state government postponed the announcement and formed an expert committee to review the entire situation and submit a report within 72 hours on the possibility and mechanism of conducting the exams in this corona situation.
Sources in the board said the committee will give its opinion on several things including whether exams are possible and if it is possible then what will be the mechanism of conducting them without exposing students to the infection. The committee will also look into the aspects of evaluating the students if there are no exams at all.
Sources in the board indicated that top board officials including President of West Bengal Board of Secondary Examination (WBBSE) Kalyanmoy Ganguly, President of West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Examination (WBCHSE) Mohua Das and Chairperson of West Bengal Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Ananya Chakraborty will be a part of the expert committee. Apart from that, there will be doctors who are working with Covid patients, child psychologists and members of different NGOs who work mainly with children and teenagers.
"The expert committee has been asked to submit their report within 72 hours. The state government will evaluate the whole thing in the light of the report submitted by the expert committee and then the final decision will be taken. However, it will not take long because the board is keen to ease out the tension of the students," a senior board official said.
The board officials are of the opinion that after the cancellation of the class XII exams of the CBSE and ISC, the formation of an expert committee is very significant because the health of the students is the most important thing for the boards as well as the state government.
"We will not compromise on the health of nearly 21 lakh Madhyamik and Higher Secondary students and for that we are ready to take any kind of hard decision," the member said.
Earlier chief minister Mamata Banerjee had said that the state government has decided to conduct the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examination in the second week of August and last week of July respectively where only examinations of the compulsory subjects will be taken, leaving the schools to give marks for the additional subjects based on the internal assessment.
The chief minister had also said that the time tenure of both the exams will be 1.5 hours instead of 3 hours. "There are 15 compulsory subjects and 37 additional subjects in the three streams. We have decided to take exams only of the compulsory subjects which are likely to take 16 days. The numbers of the additional subjects will be given by the respective schools," she had said.
There are a total of 12 lakh students and they will take their examination in their home centres only. The examination will be of 1.5 hours and the students will have to give their exams only on the 7 compulsory subjects. Numbers for the additional subjects will be given by the school authorities on the basis of internal assessments.