THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The General Education Department’s decision to start valuation camps to evaluate the answer scripts of higher secondary exam from May 13, in the midst of the ongoing lockdown, has evoked sharp protests from teachers. With some of the higher secondary exams still pending and the UGC recommending that the new academic year in colleges and universities could be postponed up to September, the teachers have questioned the rationale behind the haste.
Besides, various entrance examinations for admission to undergraduate courses would commence only after the results of national boards are published. CBSE Class XII exams are slated to commence only in July due to the nation-wide Covid-19 scare.
“Around 400 teachers would assemble at each valuation camp and all social distancing norms prescribed by the government would go for a toss. The valuation camps will turn into virtual hotspots of coronavirus spread,” warned S Manoj, general secretary, Aided Higher Secondary Teachers’ Association (AHSTA).
Teachers’ unions have also questioned the General Education Department’s rationale that only those teachers who find it convenient need to attend the valuation camps. Such a stance would result in the endless lagging of the valuation process,” they said.“If the government is sincere in getting the answer scripts valued early, it should put in place strict safety measures. More valuation camps should be opened so that overcrowding is avoided,” said Anil M George, general secretary, Higher Secondary School Teachers’ Association (HSSTA).
Since public transport has been suspended, teachers, especially women, would find it difficult to reach the valuation camps located in places far away from their homes. “In such a scenario, the government should also arrange transportation facility to teachers in adherence to social distancing norms,” Anil added. The teachers’ unions have also demanded to implement home valuation system, as adopted by national boards such as CBSE, to prevent spread of the virus from valuation camps.
Workload to increase
In a set of guidelines issued late on Monday, the Director of General Education directed Higher Secondary teachers to appear for centralized valuation duty from 8 am to 5 pm instead of the usual 10 am to 4 pm time-frame from May 13 onwards. The workload of teachers at the camp has also been increased by doing away with the cap on the number of answer scripts to be valued per day. Such arrangements will only result in decreasing the quality of valuation, teachers pointed out.