After the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) paper leaks, city school principals have demanded splitting the Mumbai divisional state board into two parts.
This move may help monitor exams better, they claimed. Teachers also want the board to hold re-exams since at least one of the leaked papers is known to have reached hundreds of students.
The divisional board — which covers Thane, Palghar, Raigad and Mumbai — is the biggest in the state. At more than 3.8 lakh and 3.4 lakh in SSC and HSC exams, it has the highest number of examinees compared to other boards.
The six consecutive leaks over the last two weeks, however, have raised doubts over the board’s capacity to handle such a large region. It is facing a shortage of manpower to monitor it.
So, principals have asked the Maharashtra state board in Pune to remove Raigad and Palghar from the Mumbai division or separate rural and urban districts. “If Mumbai division is restricted to the city and its suburbs, then conducting the exams will become easier for the board,” said Prashant Redij, head of the Mumbai school principals association. Palghar and Raigad can be added to Konkan division, which covers only two districts, Redij added. “Also, the board office is located far from the main city. It is difficult to travel that far to co-ordinate with them,” he said.
If the division is split it will be become easier to take remedial steps such as re-exams in case of incidents such as the HSC paper leaks. “The police say that the paper reached 700 students, so the board cannot claim that it was not circulated widely. But they hesitate because it will be a mammoth task for one division,” said Redij.
The demand to split the board was first raised in 2016 by the Mumbai board authorities. But it was not accepted when the divisional chairperson, Duttatray Jagtap, had written to the Pune board stating that Mumbai has a large number of students and private candidates taking the exams.
“Last minute registrations for private candidates add to the work for the staff. Instead of preparing for the exams, they are busy issuing hall tickets till the day before the exams,” said Jagtap.