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Kolkata schools defer tests for offline evaluation

Pupils need to get back to writing in formal setting, say principals

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 20.06.22, 06:02 AM
Representational image

Representational image


Several schools that are continuing with online classes have postponed tests and will conduct them when campuses reopen for in-person academic activities.

Classes can continue online but exams have to be held offline, said the heads of at least two schools.


The students have almost lost the habit of writing papers in a formal setting as over the past two years they have been appearing in tests online from the comfort of their home.

The tests in many schools were scheduled after the summer break. But the state government had last week extended the vacation in the schools — except in the hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong — by 11 days, till June 26, citing “heatwave conditions”. The move prompted several schools to defer the tests as they are keen on holding them offline.

“We will hold tests once we reopen for in-person sessions,” said Father Francis Jimmy Keepuram, principal, St Lawrence High School.

“We had one component of the examinations online, which primarily composed of multiple-choice questions. The second component comprises short and long answers and we want students to write,” he said.

“We have postponed our tests (to when campuses will reopen for in-person activities). Classes can continue online but assessments have to be offline,” said Raja McGee, principal of Calcutta Boys’ School.

During the current spell of online learning, many students are attending classes by themselves as both their parents work.

“Some kind of adult supervision is required when students are writing a test. Also, to have some papers online and some offline (because schools will resume physical classes after a week) would unnecessarily complicate matters,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School, which too has decided to hold tests offline.

When the schools reopened in April after a prolonged closure forced by Covid, teachers spotted a lot of learning gaps among the students.

“Children are unable to write or finish their classwork on time. They have lost out on writing practice and their handwriting is poor. We have to get them back into the mode of writing, in school, in a formal setting,” said Madhumita Seal, vice-principal, BDM International.

Teachers said students have had enough of online exams in the last two years because there was no other option, a situation that has changed now.

On many occasions network issues led to disruptions during exams and there were instances when some students had used that as an excuse to log off, teachers said.

“In junior classes, some parents had solved papers for the children,” said a teacher. “When they came back to school, we realised that they depended on help and were not writing on their own.”

The Calcutta diocese of the Church of North India announced on Friday that its schools would resume in-person classes on Monday because of “improvement in weather.” The following day several other private schools decided to resume physical classes on Monday.

Some other schools, however, decided to continue with online classes saying they were abiding “by the government order”.

Last updated on 20.06.22, 06:02 AM

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