The Higher Secondary (HS) Council’s newly-introduced system to engage all HS teachers in evaluation of answer-scripts of the ongoing HS examinations appears to have backfired. The move, meant to expedite the publication of results, may actually delay the process. The HS examinations began on April 1.
The head-examiners say they are finding it difficult this year to complete the evaluation of answer-scripts within the target dates, as they do not have enough examiners standing by to cope with an emergency under the new system. This is because each teacher now has been grouped under one head-examiner or the other — a measure that was taken to ensure compulsory participation of all teachers in the evaluation process.
“Our difficulty in finding the stand-by examiners will ultimately lead to a delay in completing the evaluation. We will have to complete the evaluation in a hurry when the date of publication of the results draws near and a repetition of last year’s marksheet scandal is not unlikely if the Council fails to arrive at a quick solution to this problem,” said an examiner.
Alerted by the marksheet mess in 2002, the authorities had decided to complete the evaluation earlier this year so that there is sufficient time in hand to ensure error-free results.
Each head-examiner has been assigned a certain number of examiners. Each examiner is required to evaluate 100 to 250 scripts. “Normally, five to six examiners under each head-examiner are found skipping duty. Earlier, when we found some examiners absent, we requested those we knew personally to check the scripts on an emergency basis,” said a head-examiner, preferring anonymity. “But this year, such a measure is not possible, because no teacher who is already working with one head-examiner will agree to examine scripts allotted to another,” he added.
Dibyendu Chakraborty, secretary, West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education, said the Council would soon sit with the head-examiners to discuss the problem. He, however, felt that too many examiners absenting themselves should not pose a problem, as the authorities have announced stern measures against teachers staying away from evaluation duties, citing “lame excuses”.
According to the head-examiners, full attendance of examiners was impossible. “Some examiners habitually skip duty. But there might be genuine reasons for their absence, too. Apart from genuine illness, many examiners do not receive their appointment letters due to postal delays. Such absences are unavoidable.”