COVID-19 in Maharashtra: No offline lecture, no exams; academics worry how batch of 2020-21 will fare in the 2022 Class 12 board exams

Mumbai: It has been a truly remarkable or unremarkable first year in junior college, depending on one’s perspective, for FYJC students. They will be going into SYJC, the crucial board exam year, without having to take final examinations, having been promoted by the state school education department. Junior college authorities are also anxious about FYJC 2020-21, dubbing it a wasted year and, with students just having been pushed into Class 12, they worry that it will adversely affect their academic performance in the board exams next year.

FYJC students bemoaned the fact that they had not had any real-life academic exposure or college experience on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ananya Sen, an FYJC Arts student at a South Mumbai college said, “Not a single offline lecture was conducted in this entire year due to the pandemic. I have not even visited the junior college where I am admitted. And without any kind of practical learning or having to appear for any exams whatsoever, I have been promoted to Class 12 as per the state school education department direction.”

While Mangesh Rawat, an FYJC Science student at a Vile Parle college said, “Our academic year was supposed to begin in August-September 2020 but was delayed and not started completely till January-February 2021. Even though I secured admission in the first merit list in September 2020, I had to wait for four months for my online lectures to begin. And when my online lectures finally began, within three months, I was promoted to Class 12. I have learnt nothing in this academic year.”

The centralised FYJC admission online process was delayed because it was suspended from September 9, 2020 to November 25, 2020, owing to the drift over the 12 per cent seat reservation for the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) or the Maratha quota in Maharashtra. On April 7, 2021, Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister, had announced that all state board students of Classes 9 and 11 would be promoted to the next class without any examinations, in the wake of the current Covid-19 situation.

Junior college teachers said students have been pushed ahead and passed in the name of the pandemic, without any academic learning. Zarine Bhathena, Principal, Bhavan’s College, Andheri west, said, “There has been no academic learning for FYJC students. Students have been pushed and passed with no value for education. This will affect their performance in Class 12 board examinations next year.”

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Free Press Journal