Maharashtra Education

Maharashtra To Re-open Educational Institutes

Maharashtra Decided to Re-open Schools and Colleges, And Students Argue to Conduct Online Exams

Maharashtra government has agreed to reopen colleges and universities in the state from February 15, 2021. State Education Minister on Wednesday made the announcement and said that the colleges in the state would reopen with 50 percent efficiency.

Given the current situation, the minimum enrollment rule of 75 percent for this year will be waived. The Covid 19 guidelines must be adopted by the students and staff. Since March 2020, online classes for all colleges have been prevalent in the state. In his tweet, Education Minister Uday Samant wrote, that from Monday, February 15, 2021, it has been approved to start regular classes in all non-agricultural universities, reputed universities, self-funded universities and their affiliated colleges in the state. Colleges will start as per the University Grants Commission’s guidance.

Students also made a new demand a day after the Minister of Maharashtra agreed to student demands and declared that colleges would reopen for lectures on February 15, that end-semester exams be administered online in the format of multiple choice questions.

Students said that “inequities” in the distribution of education have left them ill-equipped to write pen and paper theory tests, citing numerous factors such as Covid-19, travel difficulties, online research concerns and limitations on attending offline classes when they resume. Hundreds of students have taken to social networking sites to lift their requirements over the last two days. On Wednesday, Uday Samant, Minister for Higher and Technical Education (Maharashtra), declared that colleges and universities will resume classes on a rotational basis by February 15 with 50 percent attendance.

One of the students leading the social media campaign, Vaibhav Edke, said,  To date, online classes are being held and students have been mentally trained to offer online tests, as we did in the first semester. Because only 50 percent of learners will join classes, there would be gaps in the delivery of schooling. It’s not fair to expect us to write long pen and paper tests, so we’re asking that MCQ exams be done online,’ he said.

Mahesh Kakade, director of exams and assessment at the University of Savitribai Phule Pune, said that no decision had yet been taken on the subject. On Wednesday evening, a government resolution was released by the state higher education department stating that universities should determine the style of exams themselves. In the next two days, they have a Board of Exams conference planned and it will be determined there. There is no announcement as of now, he added

Universities were directed not to require students to pay maximum fees, and a committee is looking at fee-related issues from students, Samant said. Samant also said that although colleges will reopen from 15 February, all hostels may not be used as quarantine centers as some of them are used.
Following the worsening pandemic, physical courses at colleges ceased last March.
Samant was quoted as saying, “Colleges in the state can resume physical classes from 15 February with 50 per cent capacity,”

He had told reporters that universities should begin with practicals and eventually plan physical lectures, adding that colleges are required to take students into trust before deciding on this.

Students will be relaxed from the 75% attendance guideline since, owing to the pandemic, the minister had assured, colleges have remained closed for much of the academic year 2020-21.

“The curriculum of second and final-year courses has been covered to some extent through virtual classes.”

Dates for Class 10, 12 Board Exams 2021, scheduled for May-June, have recently been published by the Central Board of Secondary Education, CBSE. As for the CBSE Class 9, 11 exams, as per the regular calendar, most of the schools will conduct the final examinations in February-March. The process of the test, however, remains a matter of interest.

Class 10, 12 board reviews will be carried out offline. As for CBSE Classes 9 and 11 reviews, the controversies between offline and online reviews have left schools and students broken. Although a mode has not been mandated by the government, most private schools are tempted to perform offline examinations.

Arguments for Conducting Exams online
Many of the states have now reopened schools for students in Classes 9 to 12 following the approval of the Central Government. The government as well as private schools have seen a steady rise in enrollment over the past three months (following the authorization). Students from classes 10 and 12 are now attending classes before the board exams in May, receiving some classroom coaching.
However, most schools have only maintained a few weeks of offline lessons at peak for students from classes 9 to 11. Schools have not yet reopened for students of classes 9 and 11 in some states, such as in Delhi and also in the Mumbai BMC area. As such, students and parents contend that calling students to test them offline exposes them to needless harm. Some have also found out that it is unacceptable for students to perform offline tests without real classroom coaching. The majority of students are also not happy going to classes. In certain conditions, the execution of offline examinations will be unfair.

Arguments for Conducting Offline Exams

However, school authorities and educators are of the opinion that offline exams are necessary. As a source of worry for online tests, many have also cited rampant cheating. While there are several approaches, the conduct of proctored tests still does not guarantee equal examinations.

Stress Raises With Board Exams Around The Corner

Stressed teachers, and even some parents, keep counselors around the state occupied on the helplines with the board exams just two months after a year of online classes.
Two months away, it is not just the students appearing for the board tests, but also their families who are nervous. The tension linked to board examinations is even higher this year due to the pandemic and a brand modern online learning norm. Many questions have entered into their heads as well. As counselors named by the Maharashtra government have begun to receive frantic calls for assistance, this anxiety around board examinations has been exposed.


About Gauraangi Ramani

Gauraangi is a journalism student from Jai Hind College who also writes poetry and does theatre. She is an And All Publishing writer who regularly conducts research on education based topics.

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