The authorities in the school education department last Thursday convened a meeting with the officials of JK Board of School Education (BOSE), deputy commissioners and other officials to review preparedness for holding annual exams of students from class 10th to 12th.
It was expected that the government will take a review of preparations being made by JKBOSE in terms of printing of answer sheets, designation of exam centres and setting of question papers besides completing other formalities.
But surprisingly, the focus was not on preparations but on rescheduling the annual exams of secondary and higher secondary classes. The JK Board officials were asked to speed up the process so that the exams can be held from the first week of November.
The government wants that the early commencement of exams will pave the way for holding Panchayat elections in November ending.
Only last week, the Greater Kashmir carried a story in which the officials from JK board announced that the annual exams for class 10th and 12th will be conducted after November 15. The reason to start the exams from mid-November was the closure of the schools due to the ongoing covid19 lockdown.
Another reason for giving relief to students was the non-availability of high speed internet due to which the students could not avail the benefits of online classes. The decision to start exams from mid-November was well taken by the students. The Board had also taken the decision keeping in view the overall situation, and to provide enough preparation days to students before appearing in exams.
The students did not attend classes in schools due to ongoing covid19 lockdown and were more dependent on study material provided to them by their respective schools.
But it seems that the government is least bothered about the career of thousands of students and their mental stability. The government is more concerned about holding elections and is prioritizing it at the cost of exams which involve the careers of thousands of students.
The officials in the video conference have justified the intention to prepone the exams and have said that the government will need school buildings for setting up polling centres and services of teachers will be utilized in elections as well. So, because of these requirements, the government wants to complete the exams early and begin the process for holding elections.
The government is mulling to reschedule the exams at a time when the class 11th students are already hitting streets demanding mass promotion or deferment of exams to December. But it seems the government is not worried about the students but their whole focus is on elections. For this, apparently the government wants to compromise on the career of students to hold the elections.
Instead of trying to prepone the exams, the government, in the larger interests of the students and teachers can delay the elections and allow the students to appear in the exams as per the expected dates as the announcement by the JK Board suggested. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the exams and the career of the students, the government should not unnecessarily create any inconvenience for the students which will subject them to mental trauma at this crucial juncture.
Any wrong decision by the government will bounce back on the authorities because the students, whose career is at stake will be provoked to oppose any move to prepone the exams. This time the government should have been student friendly and should have ensured that no student faced any difficulties. But unfortunately the government is disturbing the preparation schedule of the students.
Last week, when it came to the fore that the government was planning to reschedule the exams and start it from first week of November, it left the students in distress, thus and affecting their preparation schedule.
“Earlier the JKBOSE announced that exams for 12th will commence after November 15 and the students started preparations accordingly. But now, the government wants to start the exams from the first week of November which has caused undue anxiety and pressure on the students,” a student told me in a distressed situation.
Like students, the parents have become anxious over government plans to reschedule the annual exams. “We were expecting that the government may further delay the exams to the last week of November so that the students will get more time for preparation. Ironically, the government is concerned about elections and not about the career of students,” a nervous parent told me.
The government has asked the authorities in JK Board to resubmit its proposal to the administrative department by Monday so that the exams can be started from the first week of November. But it will be against the interest of the students.
The government should not play with the career of the students for elections because it is more important than filling a vacant Panchayat seat. In any case, elections should not be preferred over exams. Life of a student matters than anything else; and elections can wait.