The choice offered by the ICSE council of whether a student will appear for the semester 1 exam from home or from school has posed a dilemma for examinees, parents and schools.
The council has said in a circular to schools: “It may be noted that candidates can take these examinations either from School, or from Home. While the preference would be to take the examination from the school, with the parent’s consent being mandatory, the examination could also be taken from the candidates’ home.”
The word ‘preference’ has added to the confusion.
The semester 1 exams for ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) will begin on November 15.
“We have given the choice to parents and they have to decide whichever they are comfortable with,” said Gerry Arathoon, chief executive & secretary, Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE).
Several schools said they would send notices to parents to find out their choice.
The heads of at least two schools said that it would be difficult to create provisions for devices or internet connectivity if a large number of students opt to write the exam from school.
When the CISCE had announced it would conduct two exams — one at the end of each semester — it had said the semester 1 exam would be a multiple choice-based online one.
A choice of location would mean two settings for one exam.
“Ideally, exam conditions should be uniform and a choice should not be given,” said Devi Kar, director, Modern High School for Girls.
In the circular sent late on Tuesday, the council has asked heads of schools to inform them of each candidate’s choice of school or home and what device they will take the exam on — laptop, desktop, tablet or smartphone — by October 18.
“The selected device should have a camera and microphone,” the circular said.
La Martiniere for Boys, Calcutta Girls’ High School, Loreto Convent Entally, Julien Day School Ganganagar, The Heritage School and St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata said they would ask parents their choice.
St James’ School will decide after an internal meeting.
“Since the council has given both options, we will ask parents their preference. Even if students choose to come to school, the invigilation will be done online,” said John Stephen, acting principal, La Martiniere for Boys.
“If a large number of students want to appear from school, it will be difficult to provide that many devices. So, we would ask them to bring their devices and we can provide our broadband connection,” said Bobby Baxter, principal, Julien Day School Ganganagar.
The council has also asked heads to nominate teachers from their schools as proctors, buffer proctors and IT support executives.
The ratio of proctors to candidates is 1:25, the council said.