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History exam pushed back

The state government has deferred the Madhyamik history examination by a day so that students do not have to write it during an industrial strike.

The history examination will be held on February 29 (2012 is a leap year) instead of February 28.

The government did not say whether the other examinations would be held on schedule.

The start of ICSE and ISC was advanced to February 27 on Wednesday because of the nation-wide industrial strike on February 28.

Several trade unions, including CPM’s labour wing Citu, called the strike to protest price rise, corruption, failure to implement labour laws and other issues after the Madhyamik schedule had been announced.

On Thursday, chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced the change in the Madhyamik schedule. She called up education minister Bratya Basu and instructed him to push back the history examination.

“We cannot allow children and their parents to suffer. This is the first major examination in the children’s lives. There is uncertainty because of the strike,” she said.

“Some people have behaved irresponsibly but we have a moral responsibility and cannot expose children to any risk,” Mamata added before leaving Writers’ Buildings on Thursday evening.

Nearly 11 lakh examinees will write the Class X state board examination this year.

“It would have been risky to send our daughter to the examination centre on the day of the strike,” said the mother of an examinee who is thankful to the chief minister for changing the Madhyamik schedule.

Mamata had initially said that her government would not change the date of the history exam as the Madhyamik schedule had been drawn up long before the strike was called. She had not changed her stand despite requests from senior trade union leaders like Gurudas Dasgupta.

The chief minister had even declared that the government would do its best to ply buses and trains on the strike day so that examinees did not face any harassment.

Sources said the decision by the Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations to start ICSE and ISC early prompted the chief minister to change her stand.

She did not let go of the opportunity to attack the Left for supporting the strike.

“For 35 years, they have been only calling strikes,” Mamata said.