2003 must not be 2002. Not, at least, for the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, which scripted its annus horribilis, being dragged through a marks muddle and finally losing its president.
Wiser after its worst debacle in recent times, as examinee after examinee hauled it to Calcutta High Court with embarrassing consequences for the Board, the Madhyamik authorities have decided to revise the evaluation procedure. From selecting examiners to evaluating answer-scripts for around 700,000 students, the Board is keen to ring in changes at every level.
To start with, only teachers with experience of dealing with a particular subject for five uninterrupted years will be considered as examiners.
Officials also claimed that no teacher with a complaint registered against him/her or facing a probe will be allowed to become an examiner.
The decision to ring in sweeping changes follows a prod from the very top — chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met school education minister Kanti Biswas and new Board president Dibyendu Hota recently and urged them to monitor personally the goings-on to ensure that there was no rerun this year of the 2002 fiasco.
“It does not matter to an examiner whether a student gets eight or 80, but it is vital to a student’s future. A student must not suffer for the callousness or irresponsibility of an examiner,” Biswas told Metro, adding that the “stringent measures” were necessary so that there is “no mistake in any student’s paper”.
Board officials said the revamp also follows a CPM state secretariat meeting where the red-faced comrades admitted that the Madhyamik fiasco had severely dented the New Left’s image. According to the new set of rules, the Board has taken upon itself the responsibility of appraising and, then, appointing examiners from all state-aided schools.
But in case errors still creep in, the re-evaluation of answer-scripts has been made mandatory before they are submitted to the head examiner of a particular subject.
What this means is that each answer-script will pass through the hands of three teachers before the numbers are tabulated. And those given the responsibility of tabulating marks and preparing mark sheets will receive special training.
With Madhyamik 2003 three months away, the Board has already asked all state-aided schools to furnish lists of teachers, along with their qualification and experience. “We are taking all precautions to avoid a repeat of last year,” Hota said.