State's aptitude test plan a flop

Schools across Mumbai are struggling to find takers for the government’s ambitious plan of conducting aptitude tests for Class X students. Though the test has been made mandatory by the state, with hall tickets already being issued for the SSC exams scheduled for March and students being away from school on study leave, schools are finding it difficult to get students to appear for the test.

This test was introduced to help Class 10 students decide their careers. The test is supposed to be scheduled by schools between February 8 and 25. The government wants the test to be completed before the board exams as the school will not be able to summon the kids later. A Dahisar school principal said, “The timing is clashing with final examination preparations. We have informed the government. It’s not the right time. We can’t protest because it’s a government order,” said the supervisor of an Andheri school.

Oliver Fernandes, parent of a student from St Xavier’s School in Mahim, said, “We make no plans during exams. Why is this test mandated at such an odd time?”

But the government seems unfazed by the criticism. An officer from the education department said, “Next year, timing and nature of the test will be reviewed.” Nand Kumar, secretary of school education in the Maharashtra government’s education department, said, “This test will help students to understand their interests. It’s not time consuming.”

The quantity of test questions is also being criticised. With vague questions, including, “Would you like to build a flyover bridge?”, parents wonder if it can guide a child to a concrete career choice at all.

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