The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Twin tests for failed students

Calcutta, March 22: Students in Madhyamik schools who fail to clear annual examinations between classes V and VIII may not have to repeat a year.

The government is working on a proposal to allow the students a three-month period to take a supplementary examination. According to plan, the test would be held three months after the annual results are declared.

The proposal, officials in the school education department said, is being considered with the primary objective of enabling a larger number of students to complete education till Class VIII.

“The ongoing Sarva Siksha Abhiyan is aimed at providing education to all children below 14 years by 2010. It is impossible for the government to do that unless we are able to provide facilities to prod the students to continue school till Class VIII,” said Prasanta Basu, a leader of the CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA).

The three-month grace period to unsuccessful students, Basu said, “will help the government achieve its target”.

ABTA, the largest organisation of secondary school teachers in the state, is now examining the feasibility of the proposal.

The government, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has said on several occasions, is keen to bring down the number of dropouts in the 12,000 schools affiliated to the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. A chunk of students in the state quit studies after getting plucked between classes V and VIII.

According to official figures, more than 32 lakh children below 14 are out of school in the state. According to the proposal, the schools will organise tutorials for unsuccessful students in subjects in which they have fared poorly in the annual examinations. For instance, if a student has failed in mathematics and English, he would be offered extra classes for three months.

Basu said the ABTA has organised seminars and workshops with secondary schoolteachers to discuss the proposal. A delegation of teachers has also met the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education bosses to discuss the new plan.

“The board authorities accepted the proposal in principle during the meeting with the ABTA delegation. It directed us to discuss the scheme with the managing committees of the schools in detail,” said Basu.

A senior board official who did not want to be named said granting promotion to students between classes V and VIII is an internal problem of the schools. The board will give its nod to the proposal only after a majority of school managing committees accept it.

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