Guwahati, Jan. 7: Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said teachers in Assam who lack sincerity in ensuring smooth conduct of the ensuing matric and high madrassa examinations will have to accept voluntary retirement.
He also said the government would offer voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to the errant teachers within 72 hours to deliver an “exemplary” punishment to those who play with academic careers of lakhs of students by not doing their jobs responsibly and sincerely.
Nearly four lakh students will sit for the examinations, scheduled from February 18.
The matric exams, conducted by the Secondary Education Board of Assam (Seba), was steeped in controversies in 2012 — right from a question paper goof-up to a cow chewing up answerscripts in Goalpara district.
“The unfortunate incidents were the result of the callous attitude of a section of teachers and officials involved in conducting the examination. Such things will not be tolerated this time and teachers, particularly the headmasters or those in charge of examination centres, will be directly made accountable for such goof-ups. Guilty teachers as well the education department officials involved in the examination process will be sent on compulsory retirement or VRS,” Sarma said.
The minister was addressing a marathon meeting of additional deputy commissioners, inspectors of schools and headmasters of districts at Pragjyoti ITA Cultural Centre in Machkhowa here. The meeting was convened to discuss the Seba’s plan of conducting the examinations in a smooth manner.
Sarma asked headmasters to do away with their habit of depending too much on clerks to execute important tasks relating to matric and high madrassa examinations and to collect question papers from police stations themselves to prevent any goof-ups.
He said the answerscripts would not be allowed to remain in schools after the examinations and would have to be dispatched to the designated centres before sunset to maintain their sanctity.
He said there would be a toll-free telephone number at the Seba office to receive calls from headmasters and in-charge of examination centres across the state if they face any inconvenience in smooth conduct of the examinations.
Expressing concern over unfair practices in examinations, Sarma instructed the headmasters to conduct a meeting of examinees, their parents and local people before February 18 to discuss plans to prevent cheating.
He said the Seba would, for the first time, even go to the extent of suspending the entire examination in centres from where cheating is reported.
“The inspectors of schools in all districts will identify the sensitive and hyper-sensitive examination centres and send the list to Seba to take steps to prevent cheating. In these centres, the Seba will use videography to identify the cheats. The inspectors of schools will have to inform the superintendents of police for adequate deployment of forces at these centres to prevent any law and order situation caused by those involved in cheating,” Sarma said.
The minister asked Seba to engage highly qualified teachers for error-free evaluation of answerscripts. He said action, including VRS, would be taken against any teacher who refuses to do evaluation. “Evaluation is an essential part of a teacher’s job, not an additional responsibility,” he said.