Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde’s rule to give question paper ten minutes in advance during the upcoming Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams has not gone down well with teachers.
Members of the standing committee of the Mumbai division of Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) have raised concerns over the new provision. The exams are scheduled to start on February 21 and March 3 respectively.
During board exams, answer sheets are handed to students 30 minutes in advance so that they can stick barcodes and fill in other details. If the question paper is also given to them 10 minutes before exam-time, board members said that students might start sharing answers between themselves.
“Though students are not allowed to carry any books or study material inside the exam hall, but if they get the question paper before time they might indulge in cheating,” said Uday Nare, one of the board members and teacher with Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.
Board members also pointed out that the board needs to increase the number of supervisors per block for better monitoring of students. Currently, there is only one exam supervisor for a minimum of 25 students.
“Before the paper starts, the supervisor is busy helping students stick barcodes on their answer sheets. So it will be impossible for them to keep an eye on students,” said Anil Deshmukh, another board member and secretary of the Maharashtra State Federation of Junior College Teachers.
Deshmukh said that the board should either increase the number of supervisors or not hold them responsible if any cheating cases are caught.
However, divisional chairperson, Laxmikant Pande said that increasing the number of supervisors was not an option. “There will only be one supervisor for every block, they will just have to be more vigilant,” said Pande.
In addition to supervisors, more than 245 flying squads will be pressed into action all over the state to monitor the board exams.