The School Education Department is determined to shift the academic session to March and is working out the modalities and overcoming the hiccups which may create any impediments in adopting the uniform academic calendar.
Why Government will shift Exams From Nov To March From This Year?
The exhaustive exercise is being done after the J&K Chief Secretary (CS) Dr Arun Kumar Mehta in April this year said the Jammu and Kashmir will fully implement the National Education Policy (NEP-2020) from the current academic session and will also move to a uniform academic calendar which in turn will be synchronised to the national academic calendar.
In this regard, the SED had constituted a high level committee to suggest modus-operandi for shifting the November session of exams to March from the current academic session.
When will Govt shift Exams From Nov To March From This Year?
“The government has already taken a decision to shift the academic session to March. The committee was only tasked to suggest the ways and means on how to go about it,” one of the committee members who wished anonymity said to Greater Kashmir.
The committee however has enlisted the concerns raised in the past as well as during the previous regimes which had initiated a process for shifting to the March session of exams. The initiatives never materialised because of the geographical disadvantage of some areas in Kashmir and also some winter zones of Jammu.
The previous PDP-led coalition government had decided to shift the academic session to March but the decision was shelved because of the tedious topography of several snow-bound areas which remain cut off for four to six months.
Do Govt schools support the move?
Yes, the private schools’ body had also extended its support to the government on the decision to shift the exam session from November to March.
The present committee has however suggested a certain mechanism by which the Government can shift the academic session to March while considering the weather and climatic conditions of snow-bound inaccessible areas.
These areas include Keran, Machill, Karnah, Gurez in Kashmir besides some areas of winter zones of Jammu division which remain cut off from Valley for several months
“Whatever the options we could explore, we have mentioned them in our report and submitted it to the government for further course of action,” the committee member said to Greater Kashmir.
Students, parents left in a dilemma
While the government is indecisive over shifting to March session, the students have been left in a dilemma, even as the parents are equally anxious.
The students and the parents are anxiously waiting for the government to clear the air on the issue as HED has already adopted the National Academic Calendar.
“We cannot compare Higher Education with School Education as we have only 150 degree colleges across J&K and there are 28930 schools with an enrollment of 24.46 lakh students,” the committee member said. It is also true that the Universities and Colleges are located at specific locations while the schools are established in cities, towns, villages and far off areas as well and it is indeed a herculean task for the SED to ensure smooth transition from November session to March session of examination.
What Principal Secretary SED said
The Principal Secretary SED Bishwajit Kumar Singh earlier said the decision about shifting to the March session of Board examination will be taken soon as the deliberations are going on in the department. However nothing has been finalised yet.
He said the implementation of NEP-2020 was a continuous process and many components of the policy have been implemented in J&K as well. It is believed that the government is holding deliberations over shifting to March session and the final decision on shifting academic session in Kashmir schools is expected soon as the department is in the process of finalising modus-operandi.
While the government is yet to take the final call on shifting the academic session, it has however incorporated other components of the NEP-2020 in the J&K’s education sector.
KSU’s appeal to SED
The SED must come clear on this serious issue so that students, who have already borne the brunt of Covid-19 pandemic, do not suffer more on account of any further academic disruptions. Sooner the final call is taken, better it is for all the stakeholders.