Mumbai schools unhappy about third competency test, plan to skip it
Competency tests were introduced in 2015 to assess a student’s first language and math skills.mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2017 00:32 IST
With the state’s education department asking all schools to hold a third competency test in April for students of classes 1 to 8, schools are in a fix as the tests will clash with their own exams and the summer break.
Competency tests were introduced in 2015 to assess a student’s first language and math skills. This is part of the Pragat Shaikshanik (Progressive in Education) Maharashtra initiative to improve learning in primary schools.
The tests, summative in nature, will evaluate students on what they have learnt in the second semester.
While the tests are binding on all boards, most of the non-state boards (ICSE, CBSE and international schools) in Mumbai begin classes for the next academic year in April, and others will be shut for the summer break.
Bal Bharti School, Navi Mumbai, for instance, starts its new academic session from April 5. This means that the students who had taken the last two competency tests will be promoted to the next class by then. “This is poor planning by the government and shows that they are not taking the tests seriously, so why should we?” asked Ganesh Parameswaran, principal of the school. “April is an inconvenient time to hold these tests.”
Rohan Bhat, chairperson, Children’s Academy Group of School, Kandivli and Malad (ICSE), said that they might skip the exams altogether. “April 7 or 8 will be our last working day before the school breaks for vacation, so if the exam dates are later, we will not hold them,” said Bhat.
Although a circular issued by the department recently asks schools to hold these tests as part of their annual exams, the exam pattern is starkly different from the school exams. “We cannot replace our annual exams with the competency tests,” said Anna Correa, principal, St Stanislaus School, Bandra, adding that summer activities were planned in April.
Some schools will hold both annual and competency tests. “We have no choice but to hold both. Our own exams might be over by then,” said Freny Mehta, principal, Alexandra Girls English Institution, Fort.
Principals and teachers criticised the lackadaisical manner, in which the exams are planned. There are no external examiners or checks to ensure that all schools are conducting them impartially. “Many schools give the papers to students in advance or ask them to solve it at home,” said Uday Nare, teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. “Unless there is better supervision during the exams, schools will not take it seriously,” he added.