The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Topper list merit under scanner

Students of Madhyamik and Higher Secondary examinations may miss the thrill of making it to the merit list in near future. The West Bengal Board of Secondary Education and the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education are considering a proposal to discontinue the practice of publishing the Madhyamik and Higher Secondary merit lists after the publication of the results.

Sources in the state school education department said the Madhyamik Board and the Higher Secondary Council have been asked to discuss the proposal with their executive bodies and take a decision. “We have received opinions from teachers and academicians on the issue. Once the Madhyamik Board and the HS Council finish weighing the pros and cons of the system, their opinions will be placed for discussion at the government level,” said Kanti Biswas, state school education minister.

Biswas, however, reiterated that there would be no change in the existing system this year. The Madhyamik and the HS results are due to be published in the coming two months.

Education department officials cite several factors behind the government’s keenness to do away with the system of publishing merit lists, the main being the strong opposition from Left Front teachers’ lobbies and academicians.

“This system does not conform to the principles of modern education followed in other countries. We were opposed to it even when it was introduced in the mid-80s,” said Amal Banerjee, general secretary of the CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA).

Sources in the education department, however, said abolishing the existing practice would help the government avoid embarrassments caused due to complaints lodged by students on irregularities in checking the answer-scripts.

“The purpose of publishing the merit lists is not served since one can’t rule out the possibility of students challenging their marks. Moreover, students develop inferiority complexes when they find they have been pushed back in the rating list,” explained an official.

“The 13-member school education committee, headed by Ranju Gopal Mukherjee, has also asked the government to consider discontinuing the system in its report,” the minister added.

Besides, the practice of ranking successful candidates goes against the Central government’s directive of awarding grades at the Madhyamik and HS levels. This, said officials, is yet another reason for the state government’s initiative.

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