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K’taka Rushes Ahead With Class X Exam, Grading for II PUC

Karnataka has decided to scrap the II PUC exams while giving a go-ahead to conduct the class X examinations.

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India
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The Karnataka government has decided to scrap the second year Pre-University College (PUC) exams while giving a go-ahead to conduct the SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate) or class 10 examinations, Education Minister S Suresh Kumar informed on Friday, 4 June.

The exams for SSLC will be held in the third week of July and grading for PUC students will be announced by the last week of June.

The grades for the scrapped II PUC exams will be based on the average score of Class X and I PUC exams. Initially, the minister had announced that the grades would be based only on the average score of the I PUC exams. However, after backlash, the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) notified that Class X marks will also be considered.

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Experts Welcome the Move

The ideal way of assessing grades of these children is by considering Class X exam scores as the main criteria and I PU scores as supplementary. It’s because the learning of these students in I PUC has been uneven due to the pandemic and most students don’t take I PUC as seriously as II PUC.
Niranjanaradhya VP, senior fellow and programme head, Universalisation of Equitable Quality Education Programme, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University

While informing that the department will release further guidelines in the coming days, Kumar said if a student is not satisfied with the result, he or she can appear for the exam which will be conducted after the COVID pandemic is contained and it will be considered as their first attempt.

He added that students, who enrolled themselves as private candidates or repeaters, can appear for the exam, which will be conducted in the coming days. Results of repeaters and private candidates cannot be declared due to a lack of proper record, the minister said.

Why conduct SSLC exams?

Karnataka is the only state to go forward with the decision to hold the state board examinations for Class X (SSLC) students despite the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) cancelling the same due to the ongoing COVID situation across the country.

Responding to this, Kumar said, “CBSE conducts internal assessments, we do not have that mechanism and it will hence be difficult to evaluate the scores. Even the IX grade exams were not conducted last year due to the pandemic, how will we evaluate the students if not by an exam.”

Kumar, while addressing the media, said that the department has come up with a model in which all six subjects will be squeezed into just two papers.

The first paper would include mathematics, science and social science and each topic will have a maximum of 40 mark’s that takes the total to 120. The same grading would be used for all three language papers, the minister added.

He said that the exam is being conducted to help children choose a stream for their further studies in either science, commerce and arts.

“Conducting examinations in the usual elaborative manner during these troubled times poses a lot of risk for the student community. Their lives are most precious for us and their health assumes paramount importance. However, since we don’t have previous assessment models for these students, it is inevitable for us to somehow evaluate their performance and hence a most simple solution has been formulated,” he said in a statement.

The two papers, to be held on two different days with at least 3 days gap in between, will have optical mark readers, and it will have multiple choice answers.

According to the minister, there won’t be supplementary exams this year. The dates of the examination will be announced twenty days before its commencement. “Grades will be awarded as A, B and C based on the marks. We will publish a model question paper on our website shortly,” the minister informed.

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Safety Measures Amid Pandemic

The minister said that the government is doubling the number of examination centres from 3,000 to 6,000 to ensure proper safety precautions are taken for the same.

“Only 12 students would be accommodated per room and only one student per desk will be allowed. At least a six feet distance will be maintained between each student,” the minister said.

All students will be provided N-95 masks and all teachers will be vaccinated, the minister added. Kumar also said that the primary and secondary education departments are now deliberating on how they can innovate to bring in periodical review practices like CBSE and ICSE. He also added that it is unlikely that any student will be held back in these two grades.

However, the decision to hold exams for class X received criticism from former Karnataka chief minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Kumaraswamy. “It is really insane on the part of the state government to hold SSLC exams while cancelling the II Year PUC exams in the wake of the prevailing COVID situation. People of the state are laughing at such a mad decision of the education minister who is acting as if he is out of his mind,” Kumaraswamy posted on Twitter.

He said that the government should withdraw the “irrational decision” and “reign in” the education minister “who is playing with the lives of children.”

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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