Finally, govt announces mass promotion

Srinagar: Thousands of students and their parents breathed a sigh of relief as state government Saturday announced mass promotion from Class-I to IX as also Class-XI, finally taking into account prolonged disruption of schooling in the Kashmir and winter zone of Jammu division due to last year’s devastating floods.
The decision comes less than a week after PDP-BJP alliance led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed took over the reins of the state and few days after Supreme Court granted time to the state to decide on the issue.
The decision goes against the opinion of the experts from School Education Department, who had opposed the promotion despite high court’s directions to the state to “favourably” consider the mass promotion.
“In view of prolonged disruption of schooling and likelihood of further delay in commencement of studies in the next classes in case examinations are held, it is hereby ordered that final exams of the 2nd term shall be waived off for the students of Class-I to Class-IX as also Class-XI in all the Government and recognized Private Schools of Kashmir division and winter zone of Jammu division,” Shaleen Kabra, commissioner secretary School Education Department said in an order issued here on the weekend.
“The students shall be elevated to the next level with immediate effect,” Kabra said.
He said that a number of educational institutions were closed down due to unprecedented floods and heavy rainfall in September and most of the schools could not be made fully functional for a long time due to damage suffered by the buildings, unsafe or unhygienic conditions and also water logging. Because of the situation, he said, exams had been deferred from Oct-Nov 2014 to March 2015.
As per official figures, out of total 14238 schools across the Valley (11638 government and 2610 private), 1405 (1096 government and 309 private) were fully or partially damaged due to the floods.
At least 400 schools were found hygienically unsafe for students by the Health Department.
The schooling in the state, Kabra said, comes under the purview of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) Scheme which envisages that a student has to undergo recurring examination for the whole academic session in the form of unit tests and term tests.
However, he said, the final exams of the 2nd term could not be held due to the floods.
Now that the government has waived off the 2nd term, it had continuously resisted the mass promotion, citing “expert opinion”.
“The experts have asserted if students are given latitude by way of random promotion, it would be sheer deterrent to the evaluation process in judging (their) scholastic dimension,” the under secretary to School Education Department had said in a reply submitted before the high court and the Supreme Court of India.
The mass promotions as per the experts, it had said, would also “disarray” the mental faculties of the children and make them inert.
“It will finally lead to complexity in putting the students in different ranks, grades as in random promotion, the evaluative yardstick would be uniform which is cogently illogical and would prove counter-productive,” the under secretary had said.