Maharashtra may have to reopen schools before Class 10 and 12 board exams, parents worried

Parents of students studying in Class 10 and 12 in state-run schools have raised the question of when and how will board examinations be conducted when there is no clarity on physical reopening of schools. The state school education ministry has said that they will first start physical classes for Class 9 to 12 in phases so that students can attend practicals and prepare for board exams.

The Maharashtra State Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Class 10 board examinations are generally conducted in March while, the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) Class 12 board exams begin in the month of February every academic year. Students appear for practical exams or internal assessments before the start of scheduled theory exams.

Parents of students studying in Class 10 and 12 state how will board examinations be conducted without practicals and pending syllabus as schools are shut due to the lockdown necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nandakumar Rao, a parent of a student studying in Class 12 said, "There are just three months left for HSC board exams which are usually conducted in February. How can students appear for board exams without performing any lab experiments or gaining practical exposure?"

While, Indira Jaiswal, a parent of a Class 10 student said, "The pandemic has already delayed the academic year. How are students supposed to cope with the syllabus of the entire academic year in the next four months? Both students and teachers are still trying to get accustomed to the new pedagogy of online education. The state government will have to consider reopening of physical schools at least for higher classes before board exams."

The state school education ministry has said that they will first start physical classes for Class 9 to 12 in phases so that students can attend practicals and prepare for board exams. Varsha Gaikwad, school education minister of Maharashtra, said, "The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will not be able to conduct the exams of Class 10 and 12 before May 2021 due to the prevailing coronavirus situation."

Gaikwad further said, "I have also discussed the issue of how much curriculum can be omitted so that teachers can complete the remaining part. We will have to cut at least 25 per cent of the curriculum." Currently, school teachers are conducting daily online classes for students of Class 10 and 12.

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