Maharashtra School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad has announced a slew of concessions for the upcoming Class X, XII written and practical board examinations in April-May 2021, most important of which is that students would get an extra 30 minutes during exams to write the 80-mark theory papers.
Extra 30 minutes during exams, Varsha Gaikwad
Due to the pandemic, Gaikwad said students were unable to get much practice in writing as schools had been for a better part of the year, and announced that students would get an extra 30 minutes for 80-mark papers and 15 minutes for 40-50-mark theory papers.
She added that as assured earlier, students would give their board exams in the same school/junior college only, and exams would be held offline.
The minister confirmed that as per the earlier announced timetable, SSC and HSC written exams would be conducted offline between April 29 to May 20 and April 23 to May 21 respectively.
“Conducting practicals in school has been tough this year and therefore we have decided that students need to be given a concession. So, we have decided to do away with science practical exams for SSC, replacing them with internal assignments. These internal assignment submissions will take place after the written exams, from May 21-June 10. This will be conducted in the respective schools. If any child falls sick during this submission period, an additional grace period of 15 days will be granted,” said Gaikwad. There will also be special concessions for differently-abled students.
To avoid crowding, submissions will be done batchwise.
New rules to be implemented
She added that as practicals in Class XII, HSC are crucial for further professional courses, they have not been cancelled but will limit the number of experiments to just five/six this year for science students.
Junior colleges will be informed separately about the details.
As far as Arts, Commerce and vocational courses go, home-based assignment tests would replace practical exams.
Even for Class XII, journal submissions will take place after written exams, from May 22 to June 10. Internal and external examiners will be provided by the same college. Exams and submissions will be done batchwise under strict safety protocols.
Extra 30 mins during exams and other special concessions
Special concessions with respect to extra time have been given for students with disabilities, details of which are available on the board website.
If students are absent due to COVID infection or containment restrictions, they can appear for a special exam scheduled in June, and the school will provide their details to the board.
Gaikwad said due to restrictions owing to the pandemic, the curriculum was earlier cut by 25%, and questions will come from this reduced syllabus.
Gaikwad said she has already discussed with the state’s Chief Secretary that teachers supervising board exams and board officials be treated as front line workers and will be vaccinated on priority basis. However, for students in the Old/Repeater/Improvement category, this concession is not applicable.
If students are absent due to COVID infection or containment restrictions, they can appear for a special exam scheduled in June, and the school will provide their details to the board. This exam will be treated as the main assessment, separate from supplementary exams to be held later.
There will be no separate fees for the special exam for COVID-affected students.
However, this exam will be held only in select examination centres and the gap between papers will be lesser.
All exam centres will have a designated isolation room. If students show COVID symptoms during the exam, they can be allowed to continue if they wish to finish writing the paper.
The nearest government health centres will provide the assistance needed.
Students will have to reach the exam centre at least an hour before the test to ensure COVID protocols are followed.
Question papers will be given 10 minutes in advance.