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Reports by experts gather dust in Dispur

SEBA REFORM IN LIMBO

BY OUR STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI, Feb 24: Dispur is yet to make any move to amend the Assam Secondary Education Act, 1961, the first requisition to start the much-awaited reform in the Board of Secondary Education, Assam.

Sources told The Sentinel on Friday that since the SEBA was set up under the clauses and provisions of the Assam Secondary Education Act, the State government would have to first amend the said legislation to bring about reform in the board for smooth conduct of the Matric examition. But the government is yet to make any such move in this regard which only exposes its casual and ad-hoc approach to run the SEBA, an organization responsible to decide the fate of academic career of lakhs of students every year.

Even though three expert committees constituted by the previous Congress regime had submitted comprehensive reports as how to reform the SEBA, majority of recommendations of the committees cannot be implemented unless the government amends the Secondary Education Act, 1961. 

The first committee was headed by Krish Kanta Handiqui State Open University vice-chancellor Srith Barua, second by former Cotton College principal Dilip Kr Barua, and the third by Dibrugarh University vice-chancellor Alak Kr Buragohain and Assam Agricultural University vice-chancellor KM Bujarbaruah. The three committees submitted their reports on June 22, 2012, August 14, 2013, and September 13, 2013 respectively. Interestingly, the present Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was holding the same portfolio in the then Congress regime when reports were submitted.

The main purpose behind forming all these committees was to reform the SEBA so that it could conduct the Matric exam smoothly. But even four years after there is no move from Dispur’s end to start reform in the SEBA resulted in the Board’s constant failure to conduct the Matric exam in a smooth manner.

There is no exception of such trend in the ongoing Matric exam. The board on Monday rescheduled the dates of conducting the Social Science and Assamese examitions following leakages of question papers of both subjects. The ongoing Matric exam, which was origilly scheduled to conclude on March 10, will now extend up to March 15 due to rescheduling of Social Science test. The development, according to experts and psychiatrists, is a mental setback for students who will sit for the exam.

Sources said besides non-implementation of reform initiatives, frequent changes of top bosses of the SEBA at whims and fancies of Dispur is one of the prime reasons for the Board to effectively implement long-term measures to streamline its functioning.

In November last, the State Education Minister suddenly removed Dhandev Mahanta from the post of chairman and appointed IAS officer RC Jain for the post. As per the SEBA guidelines, the government cannot remove anyone from the posts of chairman, secretary and controller of examitions when the process of holding Matric exams starts as this can also result in breach of confidentiality. The process of holding Matric exams starts in July every year and Mahanta was removed in November raising questions as how Dispur wants to run the SEBA.

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Ankur Kalita