Teachers of government and government-aided schools say they are not unduly surprised over the decision of the School Education Department to cancel half-yearly exams.
“Leave alone completing the portions, we are still groping in the dark to establish an interface with students. We have not met the students since March, and cancellation of the exam was the only option for the government,” a teacher of an aided school in Tiruchi said.
The teachers had some hope that the half-yearly exams could be conducted at least in a curtailed manner had the schools reopened on November 16 as per the earlier plan. The prevailing pandemic situation was cited by the government for postponement of the day of re-opening, and no date has been announced as yet.
While the private schools have been conducting classes online and giving assignments to students to keep them pre-occupied, the government and government-aided schools have not been able to maintain the contact with students.
“We did form WhatsApp groups for dissemination of subject contents. But, the measure means precious little in the absence of reciprocation from the side of students. In the first place, a majority of students do not possess smart phones for attending the online classes. Secondly, most of the small section of students who possess such phones are simply not interested in attending online classes. Their socio-economic background is such that monitoring their academic progress is not a priority for the parents who are, in most cases, under compulsion to earn their daily bread,” a headmaster said on condition of anonymity.
“In fact, we feel guilty about not being able to do justice to the monthly salary we get,” a teacher said.
The teachers are not sure if the ‘all pass’ policy of the government could be extended to this academic year.
“Last year, there was a possibility to factor in performance of students in quarterly and half-yearly exams. This year, not even a small test has been conducted. No parameter is in sight for adjudging the performance of students” another teacher pointed out.
It remains to be seen what kind of exam will be conducted for Plus Two students for whom evaluation of performance will the basis for admission into higher educational institutions, and appearing in entrance exams for admission into professional courses.
Teachers predict that the school education department will be left with no choice other than conducting small tests with objective type questions during the last few months of this academic year for all levels.
Official sources say though there are possibilities for starting regular classes in a staggered manner from the latter part of January, the mode of exams has not been decided as yet.
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