Government steps in to resolve BSE-Ossta face off

Over five lakh students set to appear the Matriculation examinations beginning next week can now heave a sigh of relief as the standoff between Board of Secondary Education (BSE) and Odisha Secondary School Teachers¿ Association (OSSTA) over reforms was resolved following the intervention of the State government.

With it also the indefinite relay hunger strike by the Ossta teachers in front of the BSE office, which had begun on

yesterday morning, was called off last evening.

Ossta today said it has also decided to refrain from its earlier stand to boycott the Matriculation examination.

"We will cooperate with BSE authorities during the conduct of examinations from February 25 to March 9. We will also participate in evaluation of answer sheets subsequently," said Ossta President Indumadhav Mohanty.

Mohanty said a delegation of Ossta office bearers under his leadership met the state School and Mass Education minister Rabinarayan Nanda in Bhubaneswar in the afternoon, where the BSE authorities were also present.

"The minister assured us that instead of College teachers, retired school teachers would be deputed as members mof the special squad to ensure smooth conduct of the examination," Mohanty said. On collection of Rs 20 from each student for migration certificate, it was decided that since BSE has already collected the amount, the same would be utilised to enhance the quality of certificate-cum-mark sheets, Mohanty said adding those students, who seek migration certificate from BSE shall have to apply afresh after publication of results.

However, on the contentious issue of reshuffling of teachers during the examination in which the teachers of the same school would not be deployed as invigilators for their own students, BSE and State government refused to compromise.

"Since this was part of reforms for a better cause and only a handful of teachers are going to be deployed as invigilators in different school, we will not precipitate the matter further," Mohanty said and confirmed that the relay hunger strike by Ossta teachers has been called off. Earlier, several Ossta members sat on a hunger strike at the BSE office yesterday morning. The strike was called off following amicable settlement of the issues.

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