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Concentrating on ‘focus area’ will not ensure A+ for class 10, 12 students

Class 10 and 12 students of the public schools in Kerala are in a dilemma as the education department finalised the exam pattern for the board exam.

The questions will not be concentrated on the ‘focus areas’ suggested by the department.The ‘focus areas’ are the portions which the department said the teachers shall concentrate on during online classes due to lack of working hours.

Questions for 56 marks out of 80 will be from the ‘focus area’. It is not sufficient to score an A+ grade. For exams of 40 marks, questions for 28 marks will be from the ‘focus area’. 70 per cent of the questions will be from the ‘focus area’ which covers 60 per cent of the syllabus.

Since last year, students were told to study only from the ‘focus area’, which are selected portions from the syllabus, as regular classes had not been held owing to the pandemic. As questions were prepared only from the selected portions, those who studied them well were able to score high marks. The same system was expected to continue this year as well.

However, just two-and-a-half months ahead of the exams, Education department authorities have said question papers would have questions from ‘non-focus area’ as well. Teachers point out that this is problematic since only half of the total chapters in the syllabus have been finished so far through offline and online modes. It would be difficult to finish the rest in such a short time, they said.

Teachers’ unions affiliated to Opposition parties, such as the Kerala School Teachers’ Union, have termed this pattern unscientific. A higher secondary teacher in Kozhikode district said the department officials had not clarified about the question paper pattern till recently. Only now it had been revealed that 70% of the questions would be from the ‘focus area’ and the rest would be from ‘non-focus area’. If the students were told that they would have to study all chapters for exams, they would not have been under pressure, it was pointed out.

The most affected are apparently Plus Two students, whose Plus One improvement exams begin on January 30. Evaluation of answer scripts will be begin soon after, and most of the teachers will be busy with that duty, which would go on in the first two weeks of February. Practical final exams will begin on February 15 and another two weeks will be required for this. If classes resume on March 1, model exams will begin on March 16 and another 10 days will utilised for this. That means the students may be able to attend classes only for four weeks in total from now as the final exams will start on March 31.

The ‘focus area’ chosen for this year for Plus Two students contained chapters connected to certain portions in Plus One classes. Hence the teachers had to spend some days for that this time. However, there is lack of clarity regarding practical exams for science students, at least some of whom are not familiar with the experiments.

Though the authorities claim that the portions would be covered on time through online classes, teachers are not too sure how practical this would be. According to some teachers, there is a drastic fall in the number of students attending online classes after offline classes resumed.

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