Mumbai: Varsha Gaikwad meets TCS and Google India to explore possibility of conducting SSC and HSC board exams virtually in the future
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In an attempt to conduct high stake board examinations remotely, Varsha Gaikwad, state school education minister, conducted a meeting, on Thursday, with two technology firms Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Google India. She stated that the plan is to explore the possibility of conducting major examinations, such as Class 10 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) board examinations, remotely and virtually in the near future as a learning from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Francis Joseph, co-founder of School Leaders Network (SLN), who was present during the meeting said, "Considering the pandemic, the state School Education Department is open to explore various options to conduct major examinations with virtual proctoring and assessment."

Joseph added, "There are a lot of factors to be considered, such as the availability of technical infrastructure, accessibility of services, credibility of the system and change in mindset. We will require time to develop these factors considering the diverse population of students in Maharashtra."

The technology experts said it will take two to three years to develop the desired expertise, credibility and infrastructure to conduct major board examinations virtually and remotely. A senior official of the state School Education Department said, "In Maharashtra, there are many students who do not have access to the internet, regular electricity supply or availability of technical paraphernalia, such as computers or smartphones. We need to develop a solid technical infrastructure if we aim to conduct SSC and HSC examinations virtually in the future."

The state School Education Department and the State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) alongwith TCS and Google India will prepare a roadmap with 10 actionable points for the implementation of this plan for future board examinations.

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