Home Education News No BMC nod yet, but schools start offline exams, activities - Times...

No BMC nod yet, but schools start offline exams, activities – Times of India

MUMBAI: Though there are no instructions from the BMC on allowing schools to hold classroom examinations unless mandated by the educational boards, several schools have started sending students consent forms for offline exams. Parents also claimed schools are calling students across various grades, and not just those taking the board exams, in small batches for remedial teaching, practicals, viva and exam preparation.

On January 12, the civic body issued a circular stating schools affiliated to Cambridge international board can hold board examinations. For other schools, the BMC has permitted board exams to be conducted.

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Lack of clarity from the authorities has caused confusion among schools and parents with some using loopholes to circumvent the rules. If Covid-19 cases continue to increase, local authorities, empowered to decide on reopening of schools, must come up with an action plan to ensure students appearing for the boards do not lose out as compared to their peers in other cities where physical classes resumed in November 2020.

Recently, an ICSE-affiliated school from the western suburbs sent out consent forms for class X students to attend offline examinations starting March 1. The form requires parents to give permission and states they will not hold the school responsible for any unforeseen incident. “A lot of parents are protesting the decision to hold offline classes, but the school isn’t giving us a choice. We have submitted our consent,” said a parent on condition of anonymity.

Similarly, at another school in Kandivali, students of class IX were asked to select between online or offline exams. “We were given an option, but the school has stated for students taking online exams, the academic year will be extended by 10 days. This resulted in a lot of parents opting for the offline mode under pressure,” said a parent. The parent said offline examinations began on Thursday. However, the school principal remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts. A few more junior colleges too have informed students about imminent offline examinations.

“Parents have told us some schools have been calling them to send their children for sports activities, offline exams (not mandated by board), teacher guidance etc. when we don’t have permission from BMC yet,” said Francis Joseph, member of the School Leaders Network, a group of educationists.

Many principals said they were being pressured by parents. “There are many schools in low-income areas which are not able to continue online learning for all students. With the board examination dates announced, parents are panicking students will not be able to cope and their performance will be impacted. While we have yet not allowed students to come to school, several in the vicinity have,” said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Convent High School and member of Mumbai Principals’ Association.

BMC education officer, Mahesh Palkar, did not respond to calls or messages.

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