NAGPUR: Students, parents and academics across Maharashtra welcomed school education minister Varsha Gaikwad’s decision to allow ‘home centres’ for SSC and HSC students. Gaikwad on Saturday unveiled a series of student-friendly initiatives for the upcoming board exams, which also included extra time and guarantee of a second chance in case the student fails to appear for the test.
All these measures have been announced keeping in mind various difficulties being faced by students due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The biggest sop was allowing students to appear for board exams at their own schools, rather than at randomly allotted centres in their area. TOI had reported in January that principals and students in Vidarbha have been demanding home centre policy.
Ashnarayan Tiwari, principal of Adarsh Vidya Mandir (Gandhibagh), said, “It’s clearly one of the best decisions taken by the education minister. Having a home centre is extremely beneficial for students. When they go for their board exams, it will be the first offline exam they will appear for since January/February 2020. And this exam is one which will impact their academic future. So to make it mentally easier for them, it was really important to get a home centre.”
Both SSC and HSC students will also be getting extra time to complete their exams. In a statement issued by Gaikwad’s office, it was mentioned that all exams which were scheduled for a three-hour duration will be extended to three-and-a-half hours. All exams which were scheduled for two hours, will be now be extended to 2 hours and 15 minutes.
Also, students with disabilities will get 20 minutes extra per hour of their exam duration time.
Keeping the Covid-19 situation in mind, minister Gaikwad announced that no student will miss exams due to Covid restrictions as a second chance will be given.
The conditions mentioned by the minister include a student becoming Covid-19 positive or being unable to reach the exam centre due to restrictions by authorities (containment zone, total lockdown etc). Such students will get a chance in June. For this, the exam centre is likely to change but it will within their city only.
Apart from this, the July-August exam for failure students will also continue as planned.
Last year, Maharashtra government had slashed syllabi by 25% and today’s sops seem to have made the burden much more manageable.
What’s new for SSC, HSC students
Students will appear for exams in their own schools, no external centre to be allotted
For the 80-marks theory paper, 30 extra minutes will be given, taking exam duration to 3.30 hours
For the 40/50-marks theory paper, 15 extra minutes will be given, taking exam duration to 2.15 hours
For students with disabilities, 20 extra minutes will be given per hour of exam duration
SSC practical exams will now be ‘assignment’-based. To be conducted between May 21 and June 10
HSC (science) practical exams to be conducted as per routine protocol, between May 22 and June 10
HSC (science) to be conducted from a pool of 5-6 practical tests, not more
HSC (arts and commerce) practicals to be conducted on ‘written assignment’ basis