A section of students who will appear in Madhyamik and Higher Secondary (state board Class X and Class XII) exams this year struggled to write the offline rehearsal exams, which several teachers blamed on the lack of practice in writing on-campus tests.
Schools are planning to counsel students to prepare them mentally for the board exams.
The head of an institution who has a diploma in psychology said students have lost the habit of writing answers in time following the Covid-induced closure of campuses since March 2020.
“As a consequence, many students failed to complete the papers in time during the rehearsal exams in December,” he said.
Teachers said many students were lacking in motivation and feeling scared about writing the board exams. Madhyamik is scheduled for March and the HS exams for April.
Schools are engaging counsellors to motivate students. Some schools held the rehearsal exams twice to help students overcome the fear of appearing in offline exams.
Debabrata Mukherjee, the headmaster of Sanskrit Collegiate School, said he has called students of outgoing classes X and XII on January 21 and 25, respectively, for remedial lessons based on their performance in the rehearsal exams.
“While imparting the lessons, we will also get students counselled so they can overcome nervousness and fear about writing the board exams. Else, they will struggle in the board exams as well,” said Mukherjee, who has a postgraduate diploma in guidance and counselling from Ramakrishna Mission Sikshanamandira, Belur.
Mukherjee said they spoke to some students who had underperformed in the rehearsal exams and their parents to know the reasons for the poor marks.
The parents said their children had become fidgety when they came to know that they had to appear in on-campus exams in December.
“This is loosely called psychosomatic disorder, in which the functioning of the body is affected by tensions that either cause a disease or worsen a pre-existing disease. Apart from counseling students ourselves, we are engaging experts from outside to take care of their mental health,” said headmaster Mukherjee.
Papia Singha Mahapatra, headmistress of Sakhawat Memorial Government Girls' High School, said several students had become extremely slow in writing and this affected their performance.
“The continuance of classes over online platforms has done the damage. As the rigor of classroom teaching is missing and the same scale of monitoring is absent at home, some students have become slow. Some are lacking in motivation. We have plans to get them motivated with the help of counsellors,” said Mahapatra.
Parimal Bhattacharya, headmaster of Jadavpur Vidyapith, said they twice held the rehearsal exams for the students of the outgoing Class X batch who performed poorly in the first round.
“We realised that the fear of writing offline exams unnerved many. Some of them threw up the day before exams,” he said.