Talks between OSSTA-BSE on exam reforms fail

Cuttack: Talks between representatives of Odisha Secondary School Teachers Association (OSSTA) and the authorities of Board of Secondary Education (BSE) over reforms on this years Matriculation examination have failed as both sides refused to budge from their respective positions.
As the talks failed, OSSTA said today that the call for relay hunger strike in front of the Board office from tomorrow continues. "Since the discussions on the contentious issues failed yesterday, we will stage relay hunger strike from tomorrow," said an OSSTA office bearer.
Teachers affiliated to OSSTA are objecting to reform measures undertaken by the Board that have been subsequently ratified by the state government for the ensuing Matriculation examinations beginning from February 25. OSSTA is mainly opposing to the proposal of reshuffling of the school teachers for the invigilation duty during the examinations.
Since, it has been decided that students of as many as 2500 schools would appear the examinations in their own schools; the Board is contemplating to reshuffle the teachers for the invigilation duty, so that teachers of the same school are not engaged to guard their own students.
Making it an issue on questioning their honesty and integrity, OSSTA is objecting the decision and demanding its rollback. But Board authorities argue the "decision was not taken questioning the honesty of teachers. Rather, instead of asking hundreds of students to travel to different schools to appear the examination, we are asking a handful of teachers to move to a different school," said Board president D P Nanda.
OSSTA also has reservation over the Board collecting Rs 20 per student for issuing migration certificates. While Ossta is alleging that Board has collected about Rs one crore on this head without any purpose, the Board has refuted the charge saying it would benefit the students who need migration certificate to study in other States or in other Boards.
"Earlier, a student was paying Rs 400 for migration certificate and that too, the student had to come to the Board office, apply for the same and after waiting for a fortnight, he had to come to the Board office again for collection of the same certificate. Now only for Rs 20, migration certificate will be available to the student in his own school," Nanda said emphasising that the decision was taken to ease the pressure on the students and their guardians.
While OSSTA claims that there is a proposal to engage college teachers as "special squads" to oversee smooth conduct of the Matriculation examination, the Board clarified that there is no such proposal to engage college teachers for the purpose as of now.