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West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education eases practical deadline

Potential effect of polls behind decision

Subhankar Chowdhury Calcutta Published 10.03.21, 03:00 AM
Schools that had closed in March last year as a precaution against Covid, reopened on February 12.

Schools that had closed in March last year as a precaution against Covid, reopened on February 12. Shutterstock

The higher secondary council has relaxed the March 31 deadline for schools to finish practical exams in view of the possibility of central forces occupying school buildings during the polls, coming in the way of wrapping up exams by the date set earlier.

The earlier order of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education had asked the schools to start in-person practical exams in early March and end within March 31.


Officials of the school education department said that the council had received appeals from the schools in the districts to defer the deadline.

This happened after the institutions received requisition regarding forces taking possession of the school building in the run-up to the polls scheduled between March 27 and April 29 — a situation following which schools could not even start the practical exams.

The CRPF are expected to enter the school buildings of a specified zone at least a week before the polls. The central force uses the buildings to set up their base before starting their patrol, conducting route marches in the run-up to the polls in a designated segment as part of precautionary measures.

“Once the force takes control of the premises, the entry of teachers, school officials and students will be disallowed, ruling out the possibility of holding practical exams,” said the official.

Sridam Jana, the president of the West Bengal Headmasters’ Association, said although the council gave the schools flexibility to start the exams from March 1, modifying its previous order that had fixed March 10 as the start date, several schools did not want to start the exams early without conducting the bare minimum practical classes.

“Around the time they would be through with classes, the forces would knock on the door to enter. So, they are appealing for pushing back the deadline,” he said.

Schools, that had closed in March last year as a precaution against Covid, reopened on February 12.

One of the instrumental factors behind lifting the closure was to allow students of science streams to get some bare minimum hands-on training before writing the practical exams.

“It is not only about being able to write the practical exams, the classes are a must to impart some fundamental knowledge minus which a student will flounder as he/she proceeds to the next level of study,” said a headmaster.

Saugata Basu, the secretary of the government school teachers’ association, said that some schools found it difficult to start practical exams earlier because teachers were engaged in training programs for the ensuing election.

“If the exams are not started on time, then they will face difficulty in ending the exams within March 31. This, too, has triggered the appeal,” said Basu.

Council president Mahua Das said: “We are not issuing any order as the appeal could be specific to an institution based in a zone. Let the schools appeal on the basis of which we will consider the issue going through the merit of the case. The council had set the dates well before the election commission came up with the dates of the eight-phased election on February 25,” she said.

The council had announced the dates in late December.

This year, the council has left it to the schools entirely to make arrangements for conducting the practical exams.

The theory exams would be conducted by the council in June.

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