Days after the alleged theft of the 516 Secondary School Certificate (SSC) answer-sheets from Isra School in Dahisar, the state board has decided to mark the affected students on their overall performance in History, Sanskrit and Science. This has raised concerns among students about the fairness of the marking pattern.
The school authorities suspect that the papers were stolen by a man posing as a scrap dealer on April 3. School principal Narendra Pathak registered a complaint with the Dahisar police on April 8. The police have not been able to trace the papers.
The Mumbai divisional state board had said that steps would be taken to ensure that the students were not affected by the incident. It said that students would be marked for the lost papers, on the basis of their overall performance, if they were not found before the SSC results.
“We will calculate the student’s average marks from other subjects and put that as the score for the missing paper,” said Duttatray Jagtap, chairperson of the divisional board, which includes Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Palghar and Raigad.
Jagtap added that this would increase board’s work, but it was always a better option than a re exam. “The incident was not any student’s fault. So we will not ask them to take the exam again,” said Jagtap.
Students are worried with the board’s decision because they feel that the marking will not be fair. The SSC scores are important for them because it plays a vital role in the first year junior college (class 11) admissions.
“SSC scores are very important. Every mark matters and can cost a student a seat in the college of their choice,” said Suresh Nair, principal, Vivek Vidyalaya, Goregaon.
Teachers said that the students’ morale had hit a low after the incident because they feel that their efforts will be wasted if the papers are lost.
“Students are demotivated with the board’s decision to mark them on their overall performance and not according to their efforts in the particular paper. Even so, I support the board’s decision,” said Uday Nare, teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. “These marks will be closer to what the students would have scored for this paper.”
The Maharashtra state board exams, held in February and March this year, had six incidents of paper leaks on WhatsApp groups, minutes before they were handed to the examinees.