Shimla: Unmindful of the need to lighten the burden of school students, the Himachal educational system continues to hold five board level exams starting from Class V to Class XII, even though the right of education mandates providing for free elementary education.
â€œWhile the central human resource ministry has proposed to do away with even the Class X exam to lighten the burden on school children,â€ says Atma Ram, an office helper whose children study in Class IV and Class X, â€œhere they conduct board exams in Class V, VIII, X, XI and Class XII levels.â€
â€œIt is a chaotic system, which is clearly outdated,â€ said a senior official of the education department on conditions of anonymity.
â€œIts hard to explain holding of Class V and Class VIII board exams when no student is to be failed till that class,â€ he said.
Rattan Chand, a retired teacher adds, â€œConducting all these board exams is not bringing about any qualitative improvement in the education system but it is certainly an bread and butter issue for HP Board of School Education (HPBSE) for the fee they charge for conducting them.â€
The school board site shows that for conducting the September supplementary exam, the late fee for Class VIII, X, XI and XII is Rs 1000/- per student.
Another notification announces a new curriculum for Class VIII, on basis of which the exams would be conducted in 2009-10
Besides, because of seasonal variation in different climate zones, the state has winter and summer closing schools where the exams are conducted at different times of the year.
In the process, the board round the year is conducting regular or compartment exams for one level or the other, said the education official.
OP Sharma, director education says, â€œthe mandate for conducting exams at various levels lies with the board and we run the curriculum as per their directions.â€
Sources revealed that an attempt was made to do away with Class V and Class VIII exams last year, but the Dharmshala based board resisted it and continues to hold all specified exams.
When contacted CL Gupta, chairman HP education board said, that the education board members were examining the â€˜Right to Educationâ€™ Act and the reforms being proposed.
He denies that that board was conducting class V exam. â€œIt is being conducted by elementary education directorate under the direct supervision of the government and the board has nothing to do with it,â€ he said.
Moreover, in some districts it has been done away with and in others it would be abolished soon, he added. However, the chairman said that the board as of now had no plans to scrap the Class X or XI exams.