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Minister says sorry for zero on HS marksheets

Calcutta, July 21: Two days after the higher secondary results were announced, school education minister Kanti Biswas apologised in the Assembly today for the “mistake” in awarding zero to 19 examinees.

The HS results were announced about a fortnight later than usual to ensure there was no repeat of last year’s marks mess. The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education was extra cautious while getting the answer scripts examined. Teachers were asked to scrutinise marksheets to ensure they were fool-proof.

But despite the caution and the delay, they were not. Several students, most of whom had done very well in other subjects, got zero in one of the papers.

Expressing his apology today, the minister attributed the mistake to a computer fault that had occurred at the time of preparing the results. “We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to the innocent examinees. We will take proper measures next year and ensure that the computer agencies appointed to prepare the results do the job more carefully,” said Biswas.

He added that all the 19 students who were awarded zero in one of their papers had actually scored very high marks. All of them have been issued fresh marksheets.

Last year, the president of the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education was removed from his post after numerous mistakes were detected in the Madhyamik marksheets.

Replying to a motion raised by Saugata Ray of the Trinamul Congress demanding explanation from the government on the mistakes in marksheets of Madhyamik and HS examinees in the past few years, Biswas tendered the apology.

He said 19 students — seven in commerce, six in Bengali, four in physics and one each in chemistry and education — had lodged complaints with the council on Friday that they were awarded zero out of 100 in one of the papers.

Biswas said a snap inquiry on Saturday revealed the mistake on the marksheets. It was also concluded that the error had crept in when the marks were being fed into the computer after a second round of evaluation of the answer scripts.

In view of the large number of court cases filed by aggrieved examinees last year, the council had decided to re-examine the answer scripts of students who had done well in all the papers but obtained less than 45 per cent in one, said Biswas.

When the marks obtained by these students were revised after the second round of checking and were being entered into the system, the error occurred, the school education minister said.

“All these 19 examinees had scored less than 45 out of 100 in one paper but obtained high marks in the rest. Somehow, probably because of a virus, the computers showed double zero in one of the papers after the new marks were entered. Unfortunately, the computer firm detected this fault on Friday evening, after the results were announced,” said Biswas.

Last year, too, the government had initially blamed the computer firm engaged to prepare the results for the mess.

Opposition MLAs demanded the resignation of the council president for the inconvenience caused to the students.

The minister ruled out the possibility.

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