GUWAHATI: Faced with widespread opposition and resentment among students and their parents the Assam Government has withdrawn clause 5 in the evaluation formula for the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and Higher Secondary (HS) examination process.
Clause 5 says that for students willing to become teachers by appearing in the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) and other government jobs where marks of HSLC and HS exams are counted to assess their merits in future the mark sheets and certificates given as per the evaluation formulae will not be accepted. These students will have to appear in a special examination in September 2021 to get mark sheets to be recognized in TET and other exams in future. In case the special examination cannot be held in September this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic it will be conducted on some dates in 2022.
The decision to withdraw clause 5 was taken during a high-level meeting between Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and representatives of leading students' organizations namely the All Assam Students' Union (AASU), All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba-Chatra Parishad (AJYCP). The meeting was held at Janata Bhawan on Thursday. Education Minister Dr Ranuj Pegu, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog and Welfare of Backward Classes and Plain Tribes, Handloom and Textiles Minister UG Brahma were also present in the meeting.
The alternative method of evaluation necessitated by the cancellation of HSLC and HS exams for 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
Officially announcing the decision before the media after the meeting the Education Minister Dr Pegu said after detailed discussion, a consensus was reached regarding the alternative evaluation method. As per the decision taken, clause 5 of the government notification issued regarding the alternative evaluation formula based on the expert committee report would be removed. Further, the certificates and mark sheets provided under the formula would be valid in applying for higher education and jobs etc., he said.
The Education Minister, however, said the meeting also decided that an equivalent exam may be held for teachers' recruitment in schools and colleges if deemed necessary. This will apply to all students of SEBA (Board of Secondary Education, Assam), AHSEC (Assam Higher Secondary Education Council), CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and other boards and education councils. He said the final decision in this regard would be taken after detailed discussions and examinations.
Pegu said it was also decided that there would be no rank holder system in HSLC and HS exams under the new formula and only distinction and star marks would be given.
The Chief Minister further directed to hold class IX examination under SEBA from now onwards. The exam to be conducted by the District Education Council will have a similar question paper for all schools of the district.
He also directed to ensure availability of data of exam results and students appearing the examination with the SEBA.
Chief advisor of AASU Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjya, adviser Prakash Chandra Das, president Dipanka Kumar Nath, general secretary Sankar Jyoti Baruah, president of ABSU Dipen Bodo, AJYCP president Rana Pratap Baruah and general secretary Palash Changmai took part in the meeting, among others.
Dr Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharjya told reporters after the meeting that students are not at their fault due to the cancellation of HSLC and HS exams, 2021. He said the exams had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
President of ABSU Dipen Bodo said it was in the interest of students that a consensus was reached regarding the alternative evaluation method and clause 5 was withdrawn.
Thursday's meeting was also the first official meeting of the new Chief Minister with the leading students' organizations of the State. The results of HSLC and HS exams based on the evaluation formulae will be declared within July 31, 2021.