Many institutions to be taken over by Election Commission for polling
Schools in Kolkata that are likely to be used as polling centres for the upcoming Assembly elections in West Bengal are worried about getting the premises ready in time for the ICSE and ISC examinations.
The date sheet for ISC 2021 exams published by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), which conducts ICSE and ISC exams, mentions that schools must conduct practical exams for computer science Paper II on April 8 and home science Paper II and Indian Music Carnatic Paper II on April 9. The council had earlier said that ISC practical exams may be conducted between April 1 and May 30.
Assembly elections in West Bengal are scheduled to be held from March 27 to April 29. Several schools will be taken over for the elections. Modern High School for Girls and South City International School have already received intimation from the Election Commission, asking them to hand over the premises for elections.
“When the schools are taken over for elections, the handover generally happens two days ahead of the polling date and even if only a certain number of rooms are to be used, access to the entire premises is denied for all. Today we have received verbal intimation from the Election Commission that our school will be taken over on the evening of April 9. If that happens, we will be relieved but we are informing the council about this,” said John Bagul, the principal of South City International School.
Some schools are considering sending a written request to the Election Commission to allow students to appear for practical exams on other floors of the school, where polling is not being held.
“The Election Commission always wants ground-floor rooms and this time they have asked for more rooms than previous years. The letter reached us a month ago. But now if they take over the school on April 8, we will request them to allow us access to the labs so that practical exams can be held. We can ask teachers and students to use separate entry and exit points. We will anyway have to conduct practical exams in small batches to maintain social distancing. If access to the school is denied completely, that will be a problem,” said a head of another school in south Calcutta.
La Martiniere for Boys, too, is expecting a letter from the Election Commission soon. “Every election, our school is taken up by the Election Commission. We are expecting the same this year as well and feel that the letter may arrive any day. We are ready for it. If the practical exam dates clash, then we would consider shifting the exam to our girls’ school across the road,” said Supriyo Dhar, secretary of both La Martiniere schools in Kolkata.
The Heritage School feels ready for the exams. “Our students are coming to school for their pre-board tests at present. They are well-prepared. Our only concern right now is to decide on the dates of the ISC practical exams apart from those decided by the council. We will hold a meet with the supervising examiners on March 10 to decide the practical exam dates for the rest of the subjects for our school, which we will have to do keeping the election dates in mind,” said Seema Sapru, the principal of The Heritage School.
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