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March 21, 2009

Question papers

It is not for the first time that the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) is in the news again for the wrong reasons. In fact it has almost become a routine affair for it. Whether in conducting the High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) examinations or while declaring the results, gross irregularities seem to crop up with monotonous regularity. This year too has been no exception. Reports of anomalies in printing of question papers in this year’s HSLC examinations have surfaced. The students had to answer questions of 102 marks in the Assamese paper instead of 100, questions. Error in a question paper in such an important examination is a serious offence and it just can’t be brushed under the carpet. Such a lackadaisical approach on the part of the Board needs to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. A callous approach on the part of the Board while setting question papers for such an important examination is the last thing one would expect. The irony is that those in the helm of the Board have failed miserably to streamline its functioning. It is high time steps were initiated to ensure that such errors are done away with. Accountability must be fixed and it should be ensured that those responsible for dereliction of duty are brought to book. A mechanism must be evolved to ensure that the candidates don’t suffer for the mistakes committed by the Board.

Repeated irregularities have eroded the confidence which the students and the teaching community once reposed on it. There was a time when most of the students of the State appeared in the school final examinations conducted by SEBA. Not now anymore. Considering the preference shown by the students and guardians, several leading schools of the State have now affiliated themselves with CBSE. This should serve as a wake up call to the Board to rectify itself before it becomes too late. The Board must ensure that irregularities in conducting examinations and in evaluation of answer scripts soon become a thing of the past. Along with it SEBA should also strive to upgrade its syllabus with the changing times so that the students get a good foundation. This in turn would help them in preparing the students of the State for their higher studies. ASSAM TRIBUNE

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