Higher Secondary 2013 candidates will be able to take practical tests in their own schools, instead of away centres as directed earlier.
The West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education revoked its earlier decision on Tuesday but refused to divulge what had prompted the change in stance.
“Students taking the HS in 2013 will be allowed to sit for the practical exams at home centres,” said Muktinath Chatterjee, the council president, on Tuesday.
A source in the school education department said the authorities were forced to return to the old system to comply with chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s wish.
The chief minister is against the idea of conducting practical tests at away centres as some teachers and students had reportedly complained to her that the new system would be inconvenient.
“After learning about the chief minister’s reservations, it was not possible for us to implement it,” said the source.
The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education, which conducts the Madhyamik exam, had earlier withdrawn a decision to introduce a board exam at the end of Class IX as the chief minister felt the centralised exam would cause “unnecessary tension” among students.
The HS council’s decision to conduct practical tests at away centres was aimed at regularising practical classes in school, a senior official in the council said.
The council had found that practical classes were not held regularly in several hundred schools. “Schools often tend to neglect practical classes, mainly because the students are evaluated by their own teachers,” said the council official.
The council had also spotted discrepancies in the marks of students in the 2012 HS. Many examinees had scored high marks in practical exams but fared badly in the corresponding theory papers. There had even been instances of students scoring full marks in the practical test and failing in the theory paper, especially in rural schools.