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School slams language divide

The authorities of South Point have lodged an official complaint with the government, questioning the evaluation system of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. The move comes shortly after the resignation of Board president Haraprasad Samaddar over the scoresheet scam in this year’s Madhyamik examinations.

South Point, with nearly 15,000 pupils, has written to school education minister Kanti Biswas and the Board authorities, demanding revision of the evaluation system for English-medium schools. South Point feels its students are being deprived of high marks in some subjects due to “faulty” evaluation.

The school decided to lodge a formal complaint, after noticing for the past few years that despite having the best infrastructure and faculty, it was not figuring prominently on the merit list of Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations. This apart, there were complaints from students that they were not scoring satisfactory marks.

The Madhyamik 2002 results revealed that South Point examinees have got unexpectedly low marks in the language papers. Similar complaints were echoed by students of Gokhale Memorial Girls’ School and St Lawrence.

N.G. Khaitan, South Point vice-president, said the first remedy sought by the school is a “total change” in the existing practice of the Board asking Bengali-medium teachers to correct answer-scripts of English-medium candidates. “The Bengali-medium teacher may not have the expertise to handle the scripts of English-medium candidates. So, this is a gross injustice. The Board must ensure that answer-scripts of students of our institution, as well as those of other English-medium schools, are examined only by examiners who have the experience of teaching in English-medium schools,” said Khaitan.

Though Khaitan said he had sent a letter to Biswas a fortnight ago, the school education minister said it was yet to reach him. But Biswas said South Point’s observation was not valid. “English-medium teachers are also correcting scripts from Bengali-medium schools. But students of Bengali-medium candidates are not complaining.”

Dipali Mukherjee, teacher-in charge of Shri Sikshayatan, said her institution might also approach the government with some suggestions for a better examination system. “There are too many loose ends now, preventing us from providing quality education,” said Mukherjee.

The move by South Point is being viewed in education circles as the first sign of a banner of revolt being raised by English-medium schools “victimised” by the trend of students from the districts scoring over their city counterparts in Madhyamik and Higher Secondary.

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