Call it sheer paradox or the harsh reality of Bihar education, the government is now grappling with two extremes.
On one hand is the raging controversy over intermediate toppers, which led to arrest of former Bihar School Examination Board chairman, two former secretaries and a host of other officials, while on the other, is the challenge to contain growing discontent due to sharp fall in pass percentage.
With over four-lakh out of a total of 11.20-lakh examinees failing - 32% students in science and 42% in arts - failing this year due to tight conduct of exams, the government has now decided to allow compartmental examination in intermediate for the first time.
The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by principal secretary, department of education, DS Gangwar late Tuesday evening. BSEB chairman Anand Kishor, secretary Anup Kumar Sinha and director (secondary) Rajib Ranjan Singh, besides other officials, were present at the meeting.
However, the modalities are yet to be worked out, as compartmental exam was hitherto restricted to matriculation only for a maximum of two papers. In 2016, the results of matriculation also dipped alarmingly, with 53.33% failing.
“The modalities for conducting compartmental will be worked out at the board meeting, which is scheduled for July 18. Provision would have to be made and ratified by the government. There were talks that compartmental exam in up to three subjects should be allowed, but it is the board that has to take a call,” said director (secondary) Rajib Ranjan Singh.
According to sources, conducting compartmental on such a large-scale is a challenge, as the government would not like another embarrassment. Besides, the bigger challenge is to conduct it early, as even if students pass intermediate through compartmental, they would not be able take admission anywhere in the current session.
“The idea is to exactly replicate the CBSE pattern for conduct of examinations. The board had also sent a team to CBSE to understand how it could be implemented here and that would require major overhaul, not just cosmetic changes,” they said.
In CBSE, though, the rule for compartmental exam is limited to just one of the five subjects, provided the examinee qualifies in all subjects with internal assessment.
The problem with the board is that despite facing ignominy for two successive years, it still has key positions vacant. “Except for the chairman and the secretary, there is no change. The positions of director (academics), controller of examination, additional secretary, joint secretary and various others remain vacant, even as load of exam will only grow with compartmental examinations an such a large scale,” said an official.