Those flunking an exam could count on state support in their effort to be handed a second chance at redemption, should they manage to step up pressure on the faculty members to yield to their claims.
Strange as it may seem, this message went out loud and clear on Tuesday after the HS council directed the authorities of Rishi Aurobindo Balika Vidyapith of Santoshpur to conduct reexamination of all Class 12 candidates who failed to clear their exam and had since gheraoed the faculty members for over 24 hours to pressure them into giving them a second shot at passing the test.
West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE), which conducts the Higher Secondary (HS) exam, later took note of the matter and promptly directed the school authorities to arrange for a reexamination.
“After going over the tabulation sheet of the exam, we found serious anomalies in the way the students were awarded grace marks. While there were students who were declared passed even after scoring just one in Bengali, many who scored more were declared as having failed the exam. There were several such instances,” Muktinath Chattopadhyay, president of WBCHSE, told HT.
“We have taken a serious note of the matter and have asked the school authorities to arrange for a re-examination of all students who failed to secure a minimum (pass mark) of 30 in all subjects and were yet declared passed even without factoring in the grace marks. This also includes the ones who were declared as having failed the exam,” Chattopadhyay said.
The council president however made it clear that he had full faith on the teachers and their evaluation process. “We are not questioning the evaluation by the teachers. We have full faith in them, but the uneven tabulation appears questionable. We would soon have all the answer scripts and seal them,” Chattopadhyay said. The directive has drawn flak, with many voices from the teaching fraternity voicing concern over the move and claiming that the same was tantamount to the council handing a second chance to failed examinees as opposed to arranging for a reevaluation of the answer scripts.
However Moloy Roy, deputy secretary (examination) of WBCHSE, defended the move, saying, “We cannot go for reevaluation of answer scripts, especially in light of complaint by a section of examinees that some of their loose sheets might be unaccounted for.
Hence, we have asked the school authorities to arrange for re-examination of all students who have failed the exam or have passed with the benefit of grace marks.” However, several former presidents and secretaries of the council have questioned the move. “The regulations of the council itself does not empower it to ask any school to go for re-examination and the schools too are not obliged to follow such diktats. However, if portions of answer scripts were indeed lost, who’s to guarantee that the students who secured 30 marks in each subject and don’t need to appear for re-examination, had been marked fair?” said a former secretary of the council not willing to be named.
However Roy disputed this claim, saying, “The council has the power to direct all the affiliated schools under its wing to mobilise such measures in matters of re-examination,” Roy said.
The move has prompted failed candidates of other schools to switch to agitations and press for re-examination. The HS council has taken the onus of looking into such complaints. “If more such complaints arrive, we would have to address them,” Chattopadhyay said.
“Such a step by WBCHSE would open a Pandora’s Box where all failed students would demand re-examination and the council would find it difficult to deal with them,” said a former secretary of the council on conditions of anonymity.