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New-look 2007 for Madhyamik
- Question pattern set for overhaul

Calcutta, March 1: The question pattern for Madhyamik papers will undergo a string of changes.

The first students to taste the new set would be those appearing for the examination in 2007, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education said today while unveiling plans to upgrade the system in keeping with directives from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

Board president Dibyendu Hota said: 'We have already held the first round of meetings with the NCERT authorities. We will implement the revised system from the 2007 Madhyamik examination.'

Among the changes, sources in the board said, the most significant is a suggestion to reduce the choice of questions in every paper.

Under the existing system, the official said, 'too many' questions are asked and the examinees have to select only a few to answer.

Sources said the NCERT found this system 'defective' and asked the board to abolish it immediately. It also suggested a system where the number of alternative questions offered was 'minimum'.

The present system, NCERT officials are believed to have reasoned, reduces the scope of examiners to properly evaluate a student's merit. 'If every student attempts a different question, it becomes difficult for the examiner to make the right assessment,' Hota admitted.

The other NCERT suggestion being considered is to lay greater emphasis on objective-type questions.

The board will organise a series of workshops to be attended by senior teachers and experts to prepare the draft of the proposed changes.

The initiative assumes extra significance as demands for an overhaul of the system had been long pending. Students, guardians and teachers had wanted the state's secondary examination to be on a par with tests like the ICSE and the CBSE, which students of over 300 schools across Bengal take.

Hota said the Madhyamik examination system also needed to be revamped because of the recent revision of the syllabi. The new courses are being introduced from the academic session beginning May.

Both the Delhi boards have already adopted the NCERT suggestions and structured their systems accordingly.

The NCERT suggestions came to the Bengal board over three years ago.

A workshop with teachers and experts was held in Calcutta last year to discuss the suggestions, but there was little progress beyond that.

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