When Higher Secondary 2003 starts on April 1, there will be one examinee more than the 380,000-odd taking the test. That will be the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education itself.
Weighed down by the load of 435 lawsuits on its back — all by Class of 2002 examinees who felt they had been wrongly evaluated — the Council on Thursday announced a slew of “new” measures that, it hoped, would prevent a recurrence of its year of legal turmoil.
Council secretary Dibyendu Chakraborty claimed the examination body had gained from last year’s experience and successfully identified the lacunae that led it to Calcutta High Court. Around 130 of the 435 cases are yet to be resolved.
The errors had caused “serious resentment” in last year’s students, and “some apprehension” in those who will write the exam this year, he admitted. A thorough study of the 2002 results revealed that most of the errors, save a few stray cases, were committed at the scrutiny stage, Chakraborty said on Thursday.
To prevent “similar errors”, the Council has made it mandatory for all examiners to perform an additional scrutiny duty this year. Earlier, only some examiners were commissioned to do so.
This is an important move, say officials, as it involves checking the total marks students have got in a paper by adding up the numbers they have scored for each answer; scrutiny also involves comparing the marks a student has been given in a paper and the figure that is posted in the tabulation-sheet.
“Our probe has shown that the examiners, by and large, carried out the evaluation job without making too many errors,” Chakraborty said. “But errors crept in while the scrutiny was being done,” he admitted, explaining that that was the sole reason scrutiny had been made mandatory for all the 20,000 examiners this year. This will distribute the workload on the examiners and ensure fewer errors.
The Council has decided on an extensive training programme for all examiners — after the completion of the exams — so that they are fully rehearsed in the rules guiding evaluation.
The Council has also increased the number of meetings between head-examiners and examiners to ensure better interaction. “We will take stern action against examiners who fail to attend every meeting,” Chakraborty said, adding that all examiners found guilty of erroneous evaluation or erratic scrutiny last year had been punished.
A control room has been set up for all exam-related information. The phone numbers are 2337-4945 and 2337-4947/8.