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HS practicals at away centres

Students who take the Higher Secondary examination in 2013 will no longer be allowed to sit for their practical tests at home centres.

The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education has decided to change the rule to ensure transparency in invigilation and marking.

There were certain discrepancies in marks in HS 2012, said council president Muktinath Chatterjee on Thursday. Many examinees had scored high in practical exams but fared poorly in the corresponding theory papers, Chatterjee said.

Another irregularity was that many examinees from schools in rural belts — where the overall HS performance was unsatisfactory — had scored full marks in the practical tests. Many of them had failed the theory papers. At the same time, students of some very good city schools, where the overall performance was very high, had not obtained full marks in the practical tests.

“Such differences have raised suspicions about the procedures followed by schools while assessing students in the practical tests,” said Chatterjee. “We want to hold the practical tests at away centres to ensure transparency in invigilation and marking.”

Under the new system, examinees will be evaluated by teachers of the schools from where they take the practical tests, Chatterjee added.

Chatterjee said the council had also decided to do away with the practice of sending practical question papers directly to schools. Instead, the papers would be kept at police stations, from where the schools would have to collect them on the day of the exam. This is the standard practice for theory papers, he added.

Teachers of some city schools, however, said the council should implement the decision only after examining the condition of laboratories in schools that it intends to use as test venues. “Many schools don’t have the infrastructure to accommodate a large number of examinees,” said a physics teacher of a city school.

Chatterjee said the council would inspect and upgrade the laboratories before the tests are held. The HS practical tests are slated in January 2013. The written tests will start on March 13.

The council will have to forward the decision to the school education department for its nod. But that is “a mere formality”, a source said.