SRINAGAR — The state government has come under severe criticism for shifting the examination session from November-December to March with the experts suggesting the authorities to reconsider the controversial decision.
Recently, the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, announced that the annual examinations of the School Education Department Kashmir division and the winter zone of Jammu division will be held in March 2015 instead of October-November 2014.
“The decision was taken in view of the damages caused to the infrastructure of school/higher education institutions in the state by the recent floods,” the official spokesman had said.
Before the cabinet meeting, the government had issued a statement announcing that the annual school examinations in the flood-hit Valley will be held in the last week of October and the first week of November.
Educationist and former Secretary of J&K Board of School Education (BOSE) Bashir Ahmad Dar said the move to shift the exams to March was hasty and taken without considering the consequences.
“Students of 10th standard had already completed their syllabus and were ready to appear in the examination in October. They should have been given one month more to refresh but shifting the session is not justified,” Dar said.
“Giving four months won’t serve any purpose. Government should reconsider its decision,” he added.
Meanwhile, Director School Education Kashmir, Mir Tariq Ali said the decision was taken for the benefit of the students keeping in view the situation in the aftermath of the floods. “Most of the students are homeless and their books were washed away in floods. The decision has been taken for the benefit of students,” he said.
Tariq said the government was indecisive about the dates for winter break for the educational institutions of the valley.
“There is no proposal with the government to announce dates for vacations. Schools are functioning properly in non-flooded areas and weather is also favourable,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dar said the government should consult experts and parents as well. “If the government thinks that flood-hit people will get houses in four months and their kids can appear in exams, then they are befooling people,” he added.
Former Secretary BOSE said shifting of the session is a “wastage of time”. “Students expect their exams to be conducted in November so dragging it till March next year doesn’t make sense,” Dar said, adding that the majority of the schools had completed the syllabus and students were ready for exams.
He said instead of dragging the session to next year, the government should identify the worst-affected students and conduct special examinations for them. “Government says students are homeless but it is not going to help them,” Dar added.
He said students of 12th standard were also prepared to appear in their examinations and start preparations for competitive examinations in later months. “But now their four months would go waste,” he added.
Director School Education Kashmir refused to comment on whether the academic session will be permanently shifted to March.
Senior academician, Tariq Chalkoo said the government’s decision to shift the academic session to March won’t serve any purpose. “The government should review its decision and conduct the examinations of lower and middle classes by this year only. They can provide some time to students for their preparation and can defer the exams by one month more,” he added.
The government decision has resulted in apprehensions among students who had planned to appear in professional entrance examinations like JKCET and AIEEE. “Our one year will go waste if exams are conducted in March. We will not get time to prepare for competitive exams,” said Aijaz Masoodi, a student of 12th standard.