Tentative timetable for SSLC, II PUC exams raises hackles

Calls are growing  for cancelling the plan to advance the SSLC exams by a week and  for conducting the II PUC exams with adequate gaps between crucial subjects.  

Just last week, the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) announced the tentative timetable for the next year's Class 10 exams, proposing to hold them between March 23 and April 4. The  Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE) has proposed to conduct the II PUC exams from March 1 to March 16, 2018, instead of the traditional one-month-long duration.  

Both the KSEEB and the DPUE have cited the Legislative Assembly elections, scheduled for April/May 2018, for the proposed changes in their timetable.  

The plans have not gone down well with teachers, students and parents.  

"Advancing the (SSLC) exams  will affect learning. Teachers  will be forced to complete the syllabus in a hurry. We want the KSEEB to retain last year's timetable," Basavaraj Gurikar, president, Karnataka Primary School Teachers' Association, told DH. He added that he would  discuss the matter with fellow teachers and submit a memorandum to the KSEEB.

Teachers fear that advancing the exams could affect students' performance.  "The decision has created a psychological pressure," said Parashuram, a teacher at a government high school in Ballari. "We are running against time to complete the syllabus."

He argued that there  would be hardly any time for remedial classes, revision of syllabus or series exams. He claimed that he was echoing the views of the majority of teachers who were  not opposing the move because they have got  "instructions from the top".

Sumangala V, Director, KSEEB, dismissed the argument that advancing the exams by a week would pressure students and affect their performance.  "Normally, we announce the timetable every February. This year, the  provisional timetable  has been announced five-and-a-half-months in advance. There is sufficient time for teachers to complete the syllabus and for students to make preparations," she said. The board has set a November 24 deadline for the public to  file objections to the timetable. Sumangala said the board had not yet received any objections and would retain the  provisional timetable unless there were "genuine grounds" for altering it.

As regards the II PUC timetable, back-to-back exams worry students  as well as parents.  Physics is scheduled  for March 1, Electronics March 2, Mathematics March 12, Sanskrit March 13 and  English March 14. Students  having PCME subjects along with Sanskrit and English are really worried. "We get virtually no time for preparation. The pressure and the tension will affect our overall performance," Radhika, a student of II PUC at KLE College, Bengaluru, said.  

Shakuntala, a parent from Dharwad,  accused the  DPUE of being "indifferent" to students' concerns. "How can students focus when there are no gaps between exams," she asked.   C Shikha, Director, DPUE, told DH: "This is a tentative timetable. Students can file their objections. There are some minor issues which will be addressed before the final timetable is announced." She added that the department had been receiving objections every day.  

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