The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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School lottery under scanner

The state government has begun a study for monitoring the performance of students in state-run secondary schools to decide if it should continue admitting students through the lottery system. The decision will be taken in 2004 when the first batch of students, admitted to Class I through lottery in 1994, will sit for the Madhyamik.

Abolishing its eight-year-old practice of admitting students in state-controlled schools through tests, the government had introduced the lottery system in 1994 to stop malpractices in the admission procedures.

Madhyamik 2004 has been earmarked by the government to consider a further restructuring of the lottery system as the results of that year will help it determine if the system had really been effective in maintaining the academic standards in the government-run schools.

School education minister Kanti Biswas said the government has not yet finalised if there would be any change in the admission system. However, the results of Madhyamik 2004 were crucial as these would help the government ascertain the merit of the lottery system, he added.

Teachers of all state-controlled schools have been asked to constantly monitor the performance of students between Classes VIII and X. Sources in schools said students were being individually assessed by teachers in class. Individual reports on the performance of the students and their Madhyamik results will then be tallied when the government makes the final decision in 2004.

The 48 state-run schools, many of which are in Calcutta, include Hindu School, Hare School, Ballygunge Government School, Bethune School and Sakhawat Memorial Girls’ School.

Sources in the school education department said some teachers felt that the government had been able to stop malpractices in the admission procedures through the lottery system. But a major drawback of the lottery system was that it did not provide any scope for any kind of screening and interaction with the students or their guardians, opined the teachers.

Bishnu Charan Chatterjee, headmaster of Hindu School, said: “Schools can ensure proper guidance to students in class. But after a certain stage, when a child is in higher class — especially Class VIII or upwards — proper guidance from guardians is also necessary, or else it becomes difficult for the child to perform really well.”

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