SRINAGAR: The government proposal to shift the exam session from November to March has set off disagreements in the educational community, with the move hailed by some academics but rejected by others who believe it will create a mess for the Valley’s students.
If implemented, the move would be a complete failure, the opponents say, because in the November session, students get much more time to study for competitive exams while waiting for their university results.
Moreover, the weather and the situation is Kashmir, they say, can prove detrimental.
Were the March session applied, the students would get less time apart from having no knowledge of whether or not they have passed their examinations.
Though some academicians contend holding exams in March will bring the academic calendar of the schools of Kashmir in line with the national education pattern.
“We know that most of the examinations which are competitive in nature now have a national reach and are universal in character. So holding exams in March may well have positive results on the one hand, but it will create a mess on the other. Under the November session, students in Kashmir have almost four months to prepare for competitive exams like NEET, JEE Main, JEE Advanced,” a teacher at a prominent school said.
“At times, one complete session of Kashmiri students goes waste, and they get only two chances in JEE, while students from other states get three chances for the same exams. If this [the proposed March schedule] were to happen, the students of Kashmir would also get three chances.”
Noted academician Prof A G Madhosh told Kashmir Reader, that before the 90s, the school session would start in March with the result declared in May or June and classes starting in July.
That was in the nineties. “But the whole system was changed by Prof Aga Ashraf Ali when he became chairman of the Board of School Education (BOSE). He changed this process, and start of the session was shifted to November, and now students appear for exams in November and then have to wait for three to four months for the result. During this process, they get time for preparation, and also their results are declared and they are free and know what they have to do,” he said.
“Now, at this time, we have to see the present situation. If they decide to shift the session again, then this is not a good decision because our day-to-day condition in the Valley is not good for the last many years. Even we don’t what will happen next.”
Madhosh said apart from the situation weather is an important factor for the session.
“No exams have been conducted in March for many years now. It’s not because of conflict, but see our weather condition. Due to rain or snow, they (the government) postpone the papers. Now if they conduct exams in March, then when will they declare the result? I will suggest they must shift to October instead of March. Schools do not even open in March,” he said.
Many years ago, Madhosh said, a committee of which he was a member suggested change to March session.
“At that time, we suggested shifting to March because then the condition was good. When I now see that decision in today’s situation, then I find this decision was not good,” Madhosh remarked.
Some school principals also said that this proposal will prove a mess for students appearing in competitive exams conducted by the Board of Professional Entrance Examination (BOPEE).
“Students in Kashmir appear in annual exams in November and have to wait for six months to appear in the BOPEE exams. Due to this break, they get time for preparation. Many students qualify the BOPEE exams as they get more time for preparation. Now if they want to apply for the March session, they would get less time for preparation,” a school principal said.
Earlier Minister for Education Syed Altaf Bukhari had told reporters that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti would be holding a review meeting of education in the next few days wherein various decisions, including shifting the exam session to March, will be taken.
He said that the students from Kashmir Valley are being forced to wait at least six months after their examinations to appear in any competitive exams. “We are currently considering the matter, and the decision in this regard will be taken very shortly,” he said.