The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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21-day deadline for HS examiners

Calcutta, Jan. 18: Teachers roped in to evaluate answer scripts of this year's higher secondary examinations will have to complete their task in three weeks from the day the papers are handed to them.

This is one of many measures the higher secondary education council has decided to enforce in the wake of a Supreme Court order, which said results of all plus-II examinations across India must be declared by June 10, every year.

School education minister Kanti Biswas said: 'The three-week deadline for examiners already exists in the council's rule book. Unfortunately, it was hardly adhered to. The government this time will ensure that they (teachers) strictly follow the guideline. Otherwise, the council will find it difficult to meet the June 10 target for declaring the results.'

The government has sought schoolteachers' 'cooperation'. The council has convened an emergency meeting with representatives of all teachers' bodies on January 25 to chalk out the course of action that has to be taken.

'The representatives of teachers' organisations have been asked to submit their opinions. We are happy that each of them ' irrespective of their political affiliations ' have agreed to extend support,' Biswas said.

The 2005 examinations will begin on March 22 and continue till the end of April. Officials said this year's results would have to be published more than a month before the usual.

One of them added that steps are being mulled to 'reduce mistakes' in mark sheets as 'much as possible'.

'To ensure perfection, we have decided to allot lesser answer scripts for correction to the teachers. We will not overburden them, but give them only as many answer scripts as is possible to check correctly within three weeks,' an official said.

The council, however, has been dogged by teachers' refusal to become examiners and it is common for one teacher to be saddled with several hundred papers. Last year's HS results were out on July 27.

A council official said more examiners will be engaged this time. Last year, 19,000 examiners were engaged to correct answer scripts of about 400,000 examinees. 'Over 3,000 additional examiners are likely to be engaged this time,' said an official.

In an attempt to not overburden teachers, the HS council has also decided on different sets of examiners for Madhyamik and the plus-II level. Till last year, many schoolteachers used to handle both.

According to government rules, ordinary graduates are eligible to examine Madhyamik answer scripts, but a teacher needs to be an honours graduate to correct HS papers.

An official said teachers with honours degrees will be kept out of the Madhyamik fold this year.

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