Board rejigs HSC dates, gives more space between papers

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) on Thursday reshuffled Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam dates to give science and mathematics students enough gap between exams to prepare better.

Board officials said the decision was taken as marks scored in these subjects will be crucial while seeking admission to engineering and medicine courses. After the syllabus was revamped and upgraded, students as well as teachers have been demanding that either parts of the syllabus be deleted or students be given more time between consecutive exams to prepare better and the Board chose the second option.

An MSBSHSE circular on Thursday evening stated that the chemistry paper (revised syllabus) has been rescheduled from Wednesday, February 27 to Tuesday, March 26 and the biology paper (revised syllabus) shifted from Monday, March 4 to Sunday March 17. Dates for the physics and mathematics and statistics papers (both revised syllabus) remain unchanged. The physics paper will be on Monday, February 25 and mathematics and statistics paper on Friday, March 1.

Anil Deshmukh, General secretary of the Mumbai Junior College Teachers Union (MJCTU) that had been petitioning the Board to change the exam dates to give students enough breathing space for preparations, said, "It is a victory for students. We are happy with the decision and appreciate the Board's move to provide enough time for students to prepare."

"The Board had upgraded the syllabus and made it on par with other boards. However, the gap between papers in the state board time table was one day, while other boards provided almost a week," said Deshmukh.

The syllabus change was effected after a court order asking the HRD Ministry to standardize the entrance and eligibility exam for medical education across the country. This resulted in the National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test (NEET) to be conducted by CBSE as per their curriculum. It was felt that MSBSHSE course was not on par with the CBSE curriculum and the state had decided to upgrade it and spread it across class XI and XII. The board exams were to be held as per NEET standards.

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