Study circle at Sanjay Nagar slums. (HT)
Study circle at Sanjay Nagar slums. (HT)

Maharashtra: Board aspirants deal with new challenges as exams approach

With the disturbances caused due to the pandemic and the resultant lockdown, children who are set to appear for their Class 10 and 12 board exams are anxious. With schools moving online, their methods of study have also changed significantly.
By Ankita Bhatkhande, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAR 06, 2021 11:00 PM IST

Over the last few days, 15-year-old Santosh Shirke has been chatting with his class teacher over the phone almost every day. Santosh, a Class 10 student at an aided school in the city, migrated to his hometown in Lanja, Ratnagiri in April 2020 after his father lost his job in a private manufacturing unit in Bandra. A diligent student who has almost always topped his class in the past, Santosh could not attend online classes due to poor connectivity in his hometown. With state board exams drawing close, he now relies on phone calls to teachers and his friends to get his last-minute queries addressed. “I could barely attend a few classes and despite studying hard, some concepts are still difficult to grasp for me. Thankfully, my teachers have been a call away to solve my issues all this while,” he said.

With the disturbances caused due to the pandemic and the resultant lockdown, children who are set to appear for their Class 10 and 12 board exams are anxious. With schools moving online, their methods of study have also changed significantly. Group studies with friends, doubt solving sessions with teachers, personal tuitions and in person exams are replaced with endless video and phone calls, online exams and peer support over WhatsApp.

Vivaan Shah, a Class 10 student at Campion School in south Mumbai, said it has been a difficult year for students like him who are set to write their board exams this year. “To begin with, we cannot make a distinction between home life and school life with school moving online now. This means there are a lot of distractions at every point. If you pick up your phone to attend a class or solve a test, you end up browsing the internet or replying to text messages. Besides that, the breaks that a physical school environment provides by allowing us extracurricular activities is something that we all miss in a home learning environment,” he added.

Even as physical meetups are not feasible considering the associated risks, students are finding their way around with the help of technology. For instance, Aashima Soni, a Class 10 student from Hiranandani Foundation School in Thane, said that over all these months, she has relied on online coaching and her friends and school chat groups for academic support. “It is always nice to call or text a friend in case of a query. We have these conversations in person in school but now that schools are online, it is best to take our conversations online too. We solve tests, do revisions and a lot more and keep each other in the loop all the time,” added Soni.

At Sanjay Nagar slums in Jogeshwari (East), nearly 50 students are appearing for their Class 10 and 12 exams this year. Local activist Durga Gudilu started conducting guidance sessions for these students and also drew up a daily routine for studying in the common hall of the community.

“Children have gone through a lot during all these months — many have lost relatives, many parents have lost jobs or livelihood sources. Our aim was to give these students a boost so that they forget all their anxieties for a while and focus on their exams. We hope that by studying together, they can motivate each other. Our tutors help address their queries too, which adds to their confidence, she added.

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) will conduct the HSC (Class 12) examinations between April 23 and May 29, 2021 and SSC (Class 10) examinations between April 29 and May 31. CBSE will hold its board exams between May 4 and June 10. While for Council For Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) board students, ICSE (Class 10) exams will be held between May 5 and June 7, and ISC (Class 12) exams will be held between May 5 and June 16.

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