A day after the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education (WBBSE) announced that it would conduct Class 9 annual exams, chief minister Mamata Banerjee scrapped the idea altogether.
Speaking at the state organised Teachers' Day programme, Banerjee said, "I read in the newspapers that a miniMadhyamik exam would be conducted. I told school education minister, Bratya Basu, 'What is happening? Children will become more stressed and teachers will also face trouble. There is no need to ask WBBSE to conduct Class 9 annual exams'. We have faith in schools, they can do it."
"We will further discuss this in the state Cabinet. When I take a decision, I also think about those affected by it but cannot give their opinion. Hence, in this case, I think both students and teachers will not be benefited by the move," she said.
WBBSE announced on September 4 that it would not be able to conduct the Class 9 exam this year, as neither teachers nor students were prepared. They said they would begin from next year.
Keeping in mind that Class 9 annual exams would now be the first school exams to really affect a student's career, the school education department decided that WBBSE would print Class 9 exam question papers centrally, and conduct the exam.
At the Teachers' Day programme, Banerjee unveiled new textbook for Classes 1, 3 and 5.
"After coming to power we formed a syllabus committee to reconstitute the syllabus. After their tireless work, the books are finally ready," she said, adding, "If the burden of books is reduced then students will be free from tension and able to study happily."
Speaking about parental pressure, she said, "They want students to be first in studies, in swimming, in singing and painting and everything. This causes a lot of tension and stress among students which should be avoided," she said.
Banerjee also announced a plan to set up a women's college in Diamond Harbour among other areas.
A hundred teachers were awarded the Shikkha Ratna Award. Besides handing out uttorio, or scarves, and certificates they were awarded Rs. 25,000 as prize money.
Besides schoolteachers, the state made a special announcement for college professors.
"From November 1, we will start the career advancement scheme (CAS) for college teachers, which has been due since 2012, but the previous government did not implement it. The motive of this government is to ensure that education remains in the hands of educationists," said education minister Bratya Basu.