Although junior college teachers across Mumbai have started assessing answer sheets for the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams, a day after withdrawing their protest on Wednesday, they will have to clear a backlog of 26 lakh answer sheets in less than two months so that results can be declared on time — before June 5.
More than 72,000 examiners and moderators, members of Maharashtra Junior College Teachers Federation (MJCTF), had boycotted HSC exams that commenced on February 28. As a mark of protest, the teachers were assessing only one answer sheet each day instead of four to five.
This means that only 8.6 lakh papers have been corrected instead of 34 lakh. Teachers will have to clear more than 30 papers daily to meet the deadline. Every examiner gets around 200 to 250 papers and once they are corrected, they will be sent to the moderators for further evaluation. “The examiners will need to complete their work in 15 to 20 days, and then moderators too, will have to speed it up,” said Frederick Arlande, physics teacher at St Andrew’s College. Bandra.
“It is going to be an uphill task to clear the backlog because the boycott continued for 12 papers,” said Anil Deshmukh, general secretary of MJCTF.
The protest was called off after negotiations with the state worked, following which the teachers assured that the results will be declared on time. To meet the deadline, the association has instructed teachers to increase their pace.
“Usually, teachers’ correct four to five papers, but they will have to up their speed,” said Deshmukh. “At the same time, we have to ensure that the quality of assessment isn’t compromised.”
Board officials complained that teachers have been boycotting assessments for 10 to 12 days every year. This is the fifth year in a row that teachers slowed down the evaluation process.
“Teachers are holding exams to ransom every year,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, secretary of the Mumbai division of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). The division includes Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar and Raigad and is the biggest in the state.
Officials said that the Mumbai division is always burdened with work owing to the highest number of examinees and manpower crunch. “So when teachers boycott exams, it adds to our strain,” said Chandekar. “The government needs to put a stop to this permanently, so that exams can be conducted smoothly.”
Some of the teachers said that the results might get delayed by a day or two, despite their efforts. “We have to submit the papers to the moderators within eight days and then they submit it to the board. But this year due to the boycott and public holidays for Holi, the process has been delayed a bit,” said Uday Nare, teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School and Junior College, Andheri.