Of BOSE and candle light examination!

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These day’s board exams are going on in full swing in Kashmir as well as Jammu division. Earlier, it used to be only secondary school examination (class X) and higher secondary part II (class XII) where examination was conducted by JK State Board of School Education (BOSE) but from the current year higher secondary part I (class XI) has also been brought under BOSE ambit.

Once the date sheet of the board exams are notified, students begin to discuss their preparation, gaps between the papers, timings of the exam etc. The issuance of the date sheet sets the ball rolling and a sense of urgency creeps in among the students. Exams put the students under immense pressure are stress. The pressure to perform well and up to the expectations of their parents raises more anxiety leading students to put in extra efforts during exam days.

An unhealthy trend though, but many students study till late hours in the night to fare well in the ensuing papers. Ideally, the students must sleep for at least 6 -7 hours but they often compromise with their sleep during the exams. Owing to lack of sufficient sleep, the students feel drained, fatigued and lethargic.

Teaching learning process requires an ideal environment to attain optimum levels. Experts quite unequivocally stress on the need of having a better suited educational environment for effective teaching and learning. If teaching learning process requires a sound environment then at the same time the learner needs to be given an even better environment at the time of examination. Those 2-3 hours when a student sits in an examination determine the grasp on the subject which eventually translates into the final performance. A calm, serene, peaceful and tranquil mind is the pre-requisite for faring well in the examination which largely is the subjective analysis of the learner.

While the authorities, at the helm, need to do a thorough research before issuing the notification for a particular exam and the condition and location of the examination centers and the availability of the requisite facilities in those centers needs to be ensured, our valley falls in the northern hemisphere and the timing of the conduct of these examinations warrants attention. Unfortunately, the timing of the ongoing board examinations has once again raised quite a few eyebrows. On Friday, 2nd November, the students once again raised their concern over the improper timing of the board exams.  The sight of students taking their exams under candle light is extremely disturbing.

Most of the school buildings in which the examination centers are located seldom have the facility of electricity.  In late autumn or early winter, the light conditions deteriorate abruptly towards the end of the day and in the eventuality of gloomy or rainy weather low light conditions set in much earlier than expected. While formulating the date sheet, the authorities should have taken into account the vagaries of weather. All and sundry residing in this part of the world know that natural light dwindles swiftly after 5.00 p.m. even on a pretty clear day.

The office goer’s, especially female employees, reach their homes towards the fag end of the day when low light conditions prevail everywhere.  Students face a lot of inconvenience in returning back to their homes in the absence of sufficient public transport. During this time of the year, the passenger vehicles plying on different routes especially in rural areas usually call it a day after 5.00 p.m.

Students particularly the female ones face extreme difficulties while commuting back home. Parents of these students begin to panic as soon as the light starts to fade. The anxious parents keep dialing the contact numbers of their children to know their whereabouts. The Jammu and Kashmir State board of school education should have kept all these things in mind while framing the date sheet.  Rather than reacting to a particular embarrassing situation, the board should have kept a convenient timing for the start of the examination at the time of issuing the date sheet. In the wake of scathing criticism from all the stakeholders, the board has changed the timing of the papers scheduled from November 5 by half an hour.

The state board officials need to revisit the policy of conducting exams after 1.00 p.m especially in Kashmir division and winter zones of Jammu division. The events that unfolded on the 2nd of this month should act as an eye opener for the board authorities. Students taking their examination under dim candle light does not make a good case and itequally does not augur well for the system. Things like candle light dinner are very familiar to us but the idea of candle light examination is a new thing and needs to be taken as an one-off instance. Such things have a negative impact on the psyche of the students eventually telling upon their performance.

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