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Despite lockdown, 85% Class 10 and Class 12 papers of Maharashtra board evaluated

By Ankita Bhatkhande, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUN 13, 2020 01:14 AM IST

Despite several hurdles that came in their way due to the Covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown, the Mumbai divisional board has successfully received 85% of the answer sheets of higher secondary certificate (HSC) and secondary school certificate (SSC) exams after evaluation and moderation.

Sandeep Sangave, secretary, Mumbai divisional board, said that the remaining papers are also expected to reach the board in the next couple of days.

“Majority of the papers have been submitted to our centres and to the board office, but in some places where travel restrictions were in place, it was becoming tough to transport papers. The board has now received the state government’s permission to operate as an essential service, and we hope that all the remaining work gets completed soon,” he added.

The Mumbai division, which also consists of Thane, Raigad and Palghar, has the most number of students appearing for board exams among the nine divisions in the state. This year, 3.39 lakh students registered for the Class 12 HSC exams, while 3.91 lakh students registered for the Class 10 SSC exams from Mumbai division. A total of 42 lakh answer sheets were corrected and moderated from the division this year. With the lockdown in place since March, several answer sheets of the board exams were stuck in exam custodies, schools and homes of evaluators and moderators.

On May 5, the state education department granted special permission for teachers and board staff to travel with answer sheets during the lockdown to ensure that the evaluation work is not affected.

The divisional board made several changes in its functioning to ensure that evaluation work is not affected, even as Mumbai accounted for maximum number of cases in the state. This academic year, the board did several things to make the evaluation process easy. First, it increased the number of paper submission centres and allowed moderators to submit papers at any nearby centre, instead of their designated centres. It also arranged for transport for its staff to come to work. It also allowed for reimbursements to teachers for their travel expenditure, even if they travelled by taxi or car for collecting or submitting answer sheets, as public transport was not operational at the time. The board also created a single-step paper submission process where teachers can give their evaluated and moderated papers just once without having to go back anywhere. The board also exempted a teacher from moderation responsibility after she had tested positive for Covid-19.

“While the overall attendance in the office was thin in the first few weeks, it is now picking up and teachers are coming regularly, making it easy for us to finish work early,” added Sangave.

How does the process work?

1. Students write their examinations at the respective centres and submit their answersheets in the exam hall.

2. From the exam hall, the papers are taken to designated custodies where papers from a few centres come in.

3. Papers are transported from custodies to respective schools of the examiners who have been assigned evaluation duties.

4. Examiners check papers and send them to the moderator (who is a senior teacher) who then checks if evaluation has happened as per the board policy.

5. Moderators then submit the answersheets to the collection centres assigned to them.

6. Papers from collection centres are sent to the Mumbai Divisional Board’s office in Vashi.

7. After all papers come in, the divisional board sends counter slips (from the answersheets) to the State Board office in Pune.

8. Data of students’ marks is collated by the divisional board including concessions, grace marks etc. and is sent to the state board.

9. Data is processed, errors are identified and removed and results are declared.

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