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CM asks for exam roster rethink

Calcutta, Sept. 10: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today asked school education minister Kanti Biswas to revise next year’s Madhyamik examination roster after one of his colleagues expressed reservations about it at a Cabinet meeting this morning.

Only yesterday, Bhattacharjee had rapped the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and the higher secondary education council for messing up the marks of this year’s examinees.

He also resented the way the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary candidates were securing higher marks after moving High Court.

At today’s cabinet meeting, which began with a minute’s silence to condole the deaths in the Rajdhani mishap, minister of state for civil defence Srikumar Mukherjee said the “tight schedule” for next year’s Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations would be equally “taxing” on students and teachers.

Mukherjee requested the chief minister to ensure that the schedule was more “flexible”. Minister for cottage and small-scale industries Bansagopal Chowdhury voiced support for the reschedule demand.

Bhattacharjee asked Biswas to see to it that there was enough space for students in the examination roster.

Board president Haraprasad Samaddar had announced last month that the next Madhyamik examinations would begin on March 3 and end on March 12.

Mukherjee said such a “tight” schedule, with hardly any space between two subjects, would put the students under enormous stress.

Biswas admitted that there was not enough space between the examination dates. But, he added: “The board is an autonomous body and it is up to it to revise the schedule. I will ask the board to consider the matter.”

According to the civil defence minister, the Higher Secondary examination that begins from April 1 has overlapping dates, with more than one combination subject scheduled on the same day.

Council officials said they are reconsidering the dates for the statistics and chemistry examinations on April 7 and 8 following objections from a large number of students and teachers.

They admitted that the tests of two important subjects on consecutive days would be a burden for those who have a combination of both.

The council has convened a meeting on Friday to discuss the matter. After that, it is likely to announce the final dates for the two subjects.

At the Cabinet meeting, Bhattacharjee brought up the issue of making Bengali a compulsory subject in government and government-aided schools.

The chief minister said in every state, either Hindi or the state language is compulsory in schools. The proposal comes in the wake of a recent meeting with a delegation from Bhasha Shahid Smarak Samity, a body for promotion of Bengali.

The delegation of intellectuals, writers and painters, including the likes of Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shankha Ghosh and Subhaprasanna, had met Bhattacharjee with a demand to make Bengali compulsory up to Class VIII.

Bhattacharjee also proposed to make Bengali compulsory in the state public service commission examinations.

He asked the school education minister to work on the proposal to make Bengali a must in schools from the next academic year.

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