Held every year on Sundays for the convenience of students, these examinations will be conducted on a Saturday this year, also posing a problem for around 9,000 schools that will have to serve as the exam centres on a working day.
Nearly 9.77 lakh schoolchildren have registered for this year’s middle school (Class IV) scholarship examination, while another 6.94 lakh have registered for the high school scholarship (Class VII).
With the previous date clashing with the board examinations, the MSCE had almost arrived at a decision to hold the scholarship papers on March 24 (a Sunday), but it came to know from the district administration that certain Staff Selection Commission examinations were also scheduled on that day for which schools would be needed as examination centres.
“Saturday is an odd day to hold scholarship examinations. Not only will lakhs of students suffer loss of an academic day, but also many parents will face inconvenience in accompanying their wards to the examination centres on a working day. The authorities should stick to the earlier announced date of March 17 or conduct examinations on March 24, which is a Sunday,” said Meena Mehta, a professional tutor for scholarships and other competitive examinations.
Vishwkarma Vidyalaya and Junior College principal Pramod Nemade, who is also the leader of the state-level forum of school principals, said holding scholarship examinations on a Saturday would pose difficulties for schools too. “Though schools usually have half working day on Saturdays, it would be difficult to make necessary arrangement for conducting scholarship examinations on the same day. Ensuring proper seating arrangement and other facilities and deploying staff for supervision along with running the school would be indeed a tough task,” he said.
MSCE commissioner Mahaveer Mane, meanwhile, said the council was not in a position to reconsider the new date for scholarship examinations due to circumstances beyond its control. “While the state board examination assumes top priority, the Staff Selection Commission examination has a considerable number of takers across Maharashtra. We have no option but to hold our examinations on a Saturday. Also, we cannot postpone the exams further upto March 31 since semester exams will be starting in schools by then,” he told Newsline on Sunday.
Mane, who also holds the additional charge of the State Directorate of Education (Primary), said schools could be asked to take an extra working day on a holiday to make up for the loss of an academic day.