Telangana Open Schools demand mass pass but experts say not feasible

By Dheeshma Puzhakkal  Published on  23 Jun 2020 11:08 AM GMT
Telangana Open Schools demand mass pass but experts say not feasible

Hyderabad: Following Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekar Rao’s announcement to promote all Class X regular students in the state, students of open schools are also demanding a similar gesture from the government.

On June 9, the CMO declared promotion of all the 5,34,903 Class X students of Telangana and directed that teachers should award grades on basis of their internal assessment marks. The open school students too demanded cancellation of examination and promotion of all the Class X and Inter students stating they suffered equally during lockdown. However, debate is still going on between the education experts and Telangana Open School Society on the feasibility of a mass pass for open school students.

“Many of the students enrolled in the Telangana Open School are women from marginalized sections who missed their education and school dropouts who want to join the main stream education. The students also comprise those counselled away from child labour and streamlined to education,” said Dr Lubna Sarwath, a Hyderabad-based social activist who has written a letter to the Telangana education minister demanding promotion of all the Class X students of Telangana Open School.

“As subject teachers at contact/study centres would have already given TMA-Tutor marked assessment grades/marks as per the requirement schedule given in the prospectus for 2019-2020, the same marks/grades may be used for promoting all open school Class X students, just as it was decided to promote 5,34,903 students to the next class by giving grades to them based on their internal assessment marks,” she added.

Meanwhile, TOSS director Venkateshwara Sharma tols NewsMeter that promoting open school students without examination doesn’t seem to be a practical solution as most students took classes from private institutions and a mass pass can impact the quality of education.

“We have around 70,000 students registered under Telangana Open School Society for Class X and Intermediate examination. A written examination is mandated for their pass. We have not considered cancellation of exams so far. Talks are on and in the next 15 days, we will be able to announce our decision on exam cancellation,” Sharma said.

All registered students for the academic year 2019-2020 had already paid their exam fee by March, 2020.

Meanwhile, some educationists like Varsha Bhargavi in the state suggest a new academic calendar that can fit in all the ongoing challenges with examination and admission. She opines cancellation of examination and mass pass is only an eye wash and not the right methodology to preserve the quality of education.

“If you look at this in a macro perspective, its a tricky situation, and mass pass is a mere eye wash. Mass pass is only on paper, knowledge of students will remain the same. Instead, we need a methodology to test knowledge acquired by students. Internal marks contain a large amount of biased results. For instance, open school classes are held by private institutes or NGOs. The internal mark offered by these institutes cannot be taken as a mandate to pass a student.”

She opined a policy that protects students for one more year with educational benefits would be a better solution than mass pass.

“I would suggest that the academic calendar be changed. Why is it so necessary to start the academic year in June? People are adamant about exams and mass pass because they fear whether they would lose the next academic session. Let us start schools and colleges in December. In April, UNICEF itself brought out guidelines on how to reopen educational institutions in a phased manner. In that case, students will also get time to prepare better and schools can better their infrastructure to deal with the pandemic. Students should not feel a sense of loss in terms of time at this point. Rather than being a beneficiary through mass pass, we should give them a chance to come out as winners,” she added

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