Mumbai: With over six lakh students appearing for the Maharashtra state board exams every year from the Mumbai division, which includes Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts, there is a demand to split the division into two.
Duttatray Jagtap, chairperson of the Mumbai division, has written to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) to create separate divisions for Mumbai city and suburbs and Thane, Raigad and Palghar or merge Raigad with Konkan division, as it has the lowest number of students in the state.
Among the nine divisions in the state, the largely urban Mumbai division has the highest number of students writing exams every year. Last year, as many as 6.9 lakh students had appeared for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams in February-March. In comparison, Pune division only had 4.9 lakh students, while Nagpur had 3.5 lakh. On the other hand, only 74,041 students took the exam from Konkan.
“All the three districts in the Mumbai division are densely populated so the total number of students is more than six lakh every year. We have to hold exams, evaluate and declare results for such a large number,” said Jagtap. “Additionally, from this year, we have to also hold supplementary exams for SSC and HSC in July, barely two months after the March exams conclude.”
Additionally, the board also gets a huge number of students registering last minute as private candidates. “We are also the only division that gets nearly two lakh private students every year, there are long, snaking queues outside our office till the eve of the exams. This trend is not prevalent in other divisions,” said Jagtap.
Jagtap added that the burden could be eased if the board agrees to split the division. “Even if Raigad district which has around 70,000 students taking the exam is transferred to the Konkan division, it will make it a lot easier for us to conduct the exam,” said Jagtap.
To make matters worse, the Mumbai division is also facing an acute shortage of staff and space,. “We are running short of at least 50 workers, this has increased the workload on the others,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, secretary of the division. “Also, the five-storey building in Vashi, that houses are office is not sufficient to store exam material for such large numbers of students.”
The state board authorities have forwarded the proposal to the state school education department. “Decisions to make changes to the nine divisions have to be taken by the state government, we have asked them for their approval,” said Krishnakumar Patil, secretary, MSBSHSE, Pune.