The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A leaf out of CU book for Madhyamik, HS Govt throws book at teachers
- Court finds varsity script assessment exemplary, Board trains guns on errant examiners

When it comes to answer-script evaluation, the Madhyamik Board and the Higher Secondary Council should take a leaf out of Calcutta University’s (CU) book. Operating on a much larger scale, the varsity still appears to be maintaining a clean record on the assessment front.

To the extent that the high court, finding no fault with the answer-scripts of nearly 100 aggrieved examinees who had filed lawsuits against the university, has directed CU to disclose the “manner and method” followed in assessing undergraduate and post-graduate scripts.

“There is a possibility the government will ask the Board or the Council overseeing the examinations to adopt some methods followed by the university in future,” education department officials said on Wednesday.

“The court order indicates that the system of assessment of answer-scripts followed by the university is, by and large, faultless,” said Dipankar Dutta, lawyer in charge of legal affairs of Calcutta University.

“The university was supposed to file the affidavit disclosing the method of assessment last month. The process has been delayed due to the ongoing ceasework by lawyers. It is almost ready and the affidavit will be filed as soon as the court reopens,” Dutta added.

Taking a cue from aggrieved Higher Secondary and Madhyamik examinees, nearly 100 CU students from the BA, B.SC and B.Com streams had filed cases against the university this year. Never before had so many students dragged the varsity to court, alleging faulty evaluation and demanding a revision of marks.

Of the 100 complaints, 70 were rejected and the rest came up for hearing. The scripts of these examinees were rechecked under a court directive. But marks were increased for only one candidate. The rest of the answer-scripts were found in order.

All other students whose claims were not found tenable had to pay a fine — fixed by the court — to the varsity. So, at a time when it’s facing a severe cash crunch, CU’s assessment record has earned it nearly Rs 80,000, via the courtroom.

Sources in the education department said on Wednesday that if the Board and the Council follow the university’s method of evaluation, it would not just improve their image but also generate some funds.

“Too many lawsuits are being filed against the bodies controlling examinations at the school and college levels. Steps must be taken to stop this and CU’s method of near-fool-proof assessment could serve as a model,” an official said.

After president Haraprasad Samaddar, it’s now the turn of examiners to find themselves in the line of fire.

Peeved with this year’s Madhyamik marksheet mess, the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education is ready to take action against 34 examiners, including four head-examiners and three scrutinisers.

With a go-ahead from the government, the Board has initiated proceedings against all the examiners found “guilty of negligence”.

Some headmasters will also be “cautioned” for recommending some teachers from their school without verifying their efficiency.

“We shall not allow any teacher to play with the future of lakhs of students. Teachers must remember that they do not work in any ordinary office or factory. They shoulder the responsibility of moulding our future generation. Those found responsible for the marksheet fiasco will have to face stern action,’’ school education Kanti Biswas told Metro on Wednesday.

The CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA) said it would “not come in the way” of the government move. Supporting the crackdown, ABTA state secretary Amal Banerjee added: “For these few teachers, the entire teaching community is getting a bad name.”

According to Board officials, punishment will include blacklisting of examiners, suspension, transfer and other punitive measures to be decided by the education minister and Board president.

This is the first time in 25 years of Left rule that the government plans to throw the book at teachers.

This has been prompted by the flak that the government has faced over students dragging the Board to court and faulty certificates being issued by the Board. With the court hauling up the Board and guardians and students crying foul, then Board president Haraprasad Samaddar had to put in his papers.

“The vast majority of examiners has done a good job to evaluate and submit answer-scripts on time. There are only a few examiners who were not serious and did not do their work properly. They must be made to pay for their irresponsibility. The entire education department and the government, as well, have been blamed for the mess due to a handful of negligent teachers. We cannot tolerate this,’’ asserted Biswas.

Board president Dibyendu Hota, too, made it clear that such mistakes could not be overlooked. Stating that this was “not expected” from senior teachers, he stressed that the marks mess could have been averted if a few examiners had been “serious” about the job at hand.

“If we do not take any action against the guilty, our credibility will be questioned and students and guardians will lose faith in the Board and the education system,’’ Hota added.

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