Teachers unhappy to be put to the test

Jan 09, 2013, 07:58 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

Teachers and principals of all 310 civic body-run schools in city miffed over Education Department's decision to hold two-part 100-mark exam to test their basics; dept officials claim scoring badly will not invite action as it is merely to improve the teaching system.

All teachers and principals in Pune Municipal Corporation-run schools are gearing up to sit on the other side of the fence, and attempt a two-part exam to test the knowledge they impart to their students.

Around 2,500 teachers and principals of 310 civic body-run schools in the city will be attempting the 100-mark exam in two parts, which has been proposed by the Education Department of the PMC. As one would expect, this decision does not seem to be going down well with some teachers and principals. On the other hand, the education board is firm on its decision and proposes to hold the examination after Republic day.

Switching places: The PMC’s Education Board had planned to conduct the exam on December 16 last year, but postponed it after teacher organisations sent a written request to the board stating that they were in the middle of organising various sports activities in civic-run schools. Representation Pic

“The proposed exam will be conducted in two parts. The first part is for 50 marks and questions will be based on the syllabus of Std I to VII, while the second part will be questions about various government policies in education and general knowledge,” said Pradeep Dhumal, chairperson of the PMC Education Board.

According to Deputy Education Head Shubhangi Chavhan, the move is not to test the knowledge of the examinees, but to learn what needs to be improved in the system.

“The motive behind the exam is for the Education Board to understand and decide what extra training and updates teachers require. We are going to be taking any action against teachers who will not score well in the exam,” Chavhan said.

The Education Board has intimated all schools about the exam in November last year, giving teachers adequate time to prepare. Teachers and teacher organisations of the Education Board don’t seem to be taking the exam plan in the right spirit and are trying hard to get off the hook.

Some of the objections raised by teachers are how can the Education Board expect a Std I or Std II teacher to prepare a syllabus of all standards, apart from answering other questions in the proposed exam.

Exam time: The main building of PMC’s Education Board in Shivajinagar; (inset) Pradeep Dhumal, Chairperson of  PMC Education Board. Pics/Krunal Gosavi

Dattatray Sonawane, a science teacher at a Vidyaniketan in Kothrud said, “I am a science teacher and look after divisions of Stds IV to VII. I have been teaching the same subject since 1985. How can I suddenly prepare syllabuses of all subjects?”

The decision has been facing opposition from the teachers since the notification was sent. “The education board has not taken teachers into confidence before taking the decision of conducting exam.

The teachers are already overburdened with extra classes and preparations for sport events and scholarship exams. The proposed exam will only add to the existing pressure,” said Bhivaji Dhumal, principal and chairperson of Maharashtra Rajya Padvidhar Prathamik Shikshak and Kendrapramukh Sabha. (MRPPSK).

Around 1,500 teachers working in Education Board schools are members of MRPPSK. Dhumal warned that all teachers of the organisation would boycott the exam if the Education Board did not give the teachers formal training before conducting the exam. “We just don’t know what type of questions they are going to ask. Also, who are the paper setters and who will evaluate them? That’s why we expect some sort of special training, which will help to clear all the doubts,” Dhumal said.

The Education Board has finalised 15 exam centres in the city. Associate Education Heads of the board will double as exam centre directors and supervise the exam.

During the summer vacations each year, the Education Board conducts 10-day training workshops for teachers. “After these workshops we are planning to conduct an exam, based on the training. For the upcoming exam, we will be conducting training for teachers, but the dates are yet to be finalised,” Chavhan said.

He added that the Education Board has included principals of all the 310 schools to appear for the exam. Unlike private schools, principals of civic run schools also handle classes. “The 2,500, includes teachers as well as all principals, who will be appearing for the exam,” said Chavhan.

Earlier plan
The education board had planned to conduct the exam on December 16 last year. However, teacher organisations sent a written request to the Education Board to postpone the exam because of various sports activities going on in schools. After considering the request, the board cancelled the exam. This time around, the board is firm about conducting the exam and most probably, it will be scheduled on the last Sunday of this month.

Exam paper
>> Part 1 of the 50 mark paper will have multiple-choice questions on the syllabus of Stds I to VII. Questions include Marathi, English Grammar, maths and practical science

>> Part 2 of the 50 mark paper will have multiple-choice questions on various provisions of the Right To Education ACT, other government policies on education and general knowledge

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