“A sudden decision like this upsets the school calendar in terms of conducting the pre-board (rehearsal) test. The final timetable will be decided later but we cannot wait that long to reschedule,” he said.
St. James’, which was scheduled to hold its ISC pre-board exam in January, has already advanced it to the first week of December, ahead of the winter vacation.
The suggested change in schedule at short notice has already inconvenienced many students. “We don’t have a problem with exams being held early. But the council should have announced its decision well in advance,” said a Class XII student at a south Calcutta school.
Sources said the final schedule was unlikely to be any different from the draft.
Gerry Arathoon, the chief executive and secretary of the council, said the ISC exams needed to be brought forward because of Holi and the Easter break in the last week of March. He said it was not possible to plan to schedule any exam from March 26 till April 1.
“In this situation, we would have had to give practically a week’s break. Then the rest of the examinations would have continued till the end of the first week of April,” Arathoon said.
Some of the national-level entrance exams like IIT-JEE are also slated to be held from April 7, so the ISC exams would have clashed with them. “We have little option but to start the practical tests on February 4 in the interest of the students,” chief executive Arathoon said.
Modern High School for Girls, Calcutta Girls’ High School and The Heritage School will hold part of their pre-board tests in December and the rest in January. Had the council stuck to routine, these tests would have been held in January.
“By the time students get answer scripts of the rehearsal tests back, it will be time for their final exams,” said Devi Kar, the director of Modern High.
Some schools will be under pressure to complete the syllabus, having drawn up their academic calendars on the basis of the original schedule of board exams in late February.