A shocking surprise in store for Plus-One students

Special Correspondent

SALEM: Students of the State Board, now writing their Plus-One examinations, are an anguished lot. The reason: school authorities asked them to sit for an additional examination which, they claim, was not included in their annual examination schedule. The examination on `environment' came as a surprise.

The students were given a 50-page booklet on `environment' on Friday evening and asked to write the examination on Saturday afternoon. The total mark is 50. The booklet contains four topics. A few schools have even instructed their students to return the booklets after the examination.

The irony is that the subject has not been taught at all in their schools.

"How can a boy, preparing for the chemistry examination scheduled for Monday, can concentrate on this new subject," asked a parent.

Still worse is that many schools are even attempting to trace the students of other classes, from Standard III to IX, who completed the annual examinations and left for summer vacation. But matriculation school students are fortunate, for the examinations for all classes have been over.

"There must be some compulsion of sorts on the part of the authorities to conduct the examinations in a hurry," claimed another parent.

"We received these booklets just two days ago. The Department of Education, which supplied them, asked us to conduct the examination and submit a report. We had no other alternative but to squeeze the subject into the main examination schedule," a headmaster said.

An official in the department said the Government, reportedly on instructions from the Supreme Court, decided to include the subject in the school curricula. But the materials arrived just a week ago. Different booklets, printed in Tamil and English, for different classes were introduced. "A few copies we received had to be reprinted for wider circulation."

He clarified that it was just an examination to make the students aware of the importance of the environment studies. "It will not be considered either for promotion or added in the total marks of a student. It will be streamlined from the next academic year." It was just like a paper on moral science and physical education.

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