Sunday, April 28, 2013

Uttar Pradesh has no money to fund school exams

Uttar Pradesh has no money to fund school exams

Isha Jain, TNN Apr 23, 2013, 03.47AM IST

(This situation has arisen…)
LUCKNOW: UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's much tom-tommed free laptop sop for students appears to have sucked away funds from the treasury to the point that it has left classrooms paperless. With exams looming, students of government primary and junior high schools (Class I to VIII) across the state have been told to bring their answer sheets from home and teachers told to write the questions on blackboards.
This situation has arisen because the state government has not made any budgetary provision for these annual examinations, slated to begin from May 7. The practical examinations for these students will begin from April 25. More than 1.4 crore students enrolled in over 1 lakh government primary and junior high schools will be affected by this.
"The government is absolutely mum on the examination expenditure,'' said a source. The issue was raised at the meeting of assistant directors (basic education) last week but the government gave no assurance that funds would come in for schools to buy enough answer sheets to see through the annual exams.
When TOI asked basic education secretary Sunil Kumar about the examination fund, he evaded the question. Instead, he said: "There is no concept of annual examinations in primary schools. Students are assessed throughout the academic session.''
The basic education director, however, contradicted the secretary. "Although students are not failed till class VIII, we hold the annual examinations to assess the quality of students and then plan improvement," said director Basudev Yadav.
Paucity of funds has left no scope for getting question papers printed and answer copies to be distributed to the students. While no top official is paying heed to it, Basic Shiksha Parishad has already asked the government schools to prepare question papers based on the model papers for Classes I-V and VI-VIII. The sample papers are already uploaded on the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) website.
"The government has decided to impart free education to all from classes I-VIII. But it hasn't allocated any funds for the examinations. Earlier, we used to get sports fee or development fee from the students which helped us in conducting the exams. But after the government banned this amount, conducting examinations has become a burden,'' said a primary school teacher.
A basic education official explained: "Teachers in some schools shell out money from their pocket to provide answer copies to the students. But mostly, students have been asked to get their answer copies.'' Another worry is where will the money come from for providing mark sheets too the students. "A similar situation prevailed last year but there were some funds which helped us. This time, it's nearly impossible to provide mark sheets to the students,'' said a teacher.
Per child cost of answer-copies
According to government officials, the cost of holding annual examinations isn't much. While students of classes I-II do not use more than two answer-copies, those from Classes III-V take around four to 10 copies. Students of Classes VI-VIII use maximum 15 answer copies. Taking this into consideration, the amount spent on a primary school student doesn't exceed Rs 10 while for a junior high school student, it comes to Rs 15.

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