Teacher- govt standoff puts Odisha students’ future at stake

Bhubaneswar: Standoff between thousands of block grant college teachers and the State government is yet to subside, putting future of lakhs of students who appeared for CHSE Plus-II board examination this year at stake.

Even as the first phase evaluation of Plus-II answer sheets is underway without the presence of nearly 50 per cent teachers, Convenor of School Teachers’ Association, Prakash Mohanty said 10 to 15 percent papers have been evaluated while at least 40 to 45 per cent of the papers should have been checked by now.

Sources said absence of teachers has hit the evaluation of answer sheets of Plus II examination and has raised concerns in the minds of students and their parents as to whether the results would be declared in time and that too error-free.

Due to absence of examiners, degree college lecturers and retired professors have been roped in to evaluate the answer sheets. The move has been quite tormenting for the appointed examiners as sources point out that each teacher has been asked to check 20 papers a day instead of a stipulated 15.

Considering the urgency and the pressure on limited amount of teachers, parents are concerned about the accuracy in evaluation.

Despite these concerns, there is no let up in the standoff between the agitating teachers and the government.

Shrugging off any concern due to boycott of Plus II paper evaluation by protesting teachers, the School and Mass Education Minister Badri Narayan Patra today said that it will have no impact on the evaluation process  and the results will be announced on time.

The minister said that the second phase of the evaluation process will begin from April 16 as per schedule. Urging teachers to withdraw, the minister said the department is open for discussions.

Meanwhile, despite repeated warnings from disciplinary action to suspension threats, the block grant teachers continue to stand firm with their protests entering its 10th day today.

“The government has made a mountain out of a molehill. Instead of resolving the issue, the government is taking decisions all by itself. In the last two months, we have held discussions with the government on two occasions and every time they promised us and then cheated. So why discuss again,” Prakash Mohanty, Convenor of School Teachers’ Association said.

On the other hand, Congress MLA and CHSE examination management committee member Bhujabal Majhi has levelled serious allegations of recklessness on the part of the government.

“The council is an autonomous body but it has also an examination management committee which has the responsibility to look into various aspects of examination. In last one month, the government has not called for a single meeting to resolve the standoff which is why we are in a situation like this,” Majhi said.