J&K school dept to hold online assessment of Class 8 students, parents resent


Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir school education department’s new order to assess Class 8 students of government schools online amid the Covid-19 lockdown has triggered anger among parents.

Educational experts say that many students belong to underprivileged sections and are struggling to attend online classes due to the lack of devices and high-speed Internet and will be unable to appear for their exams as well.

“Not every parent has a smartphone. Besides, students, teachers in Kashmir struggle with 2G connectivity. This online assessment is an all conceived idea and is a totally futile exercise. The officials just want to claim the success that they conducted the exams,” said Abdul Qayoom, a vegetable farmer and parent of a Class 8 student.

J&K’s State Institute of Education (SIE) issued a notification on June 12 stating that it has decided to conduct an online assessment of Class 8 students from June 15 after it opted for various remote learning options online teaching, access to e-learning materials, distribution of assignment-cum-tutorials and teaching through radio and TV.

“In order to assess the initiatives taken by the department and to improve the teaching-learning process, the department has decided to conduct an online assessment to test the effectiveness of these initiatives,” said the notification by Joint Director, SIE, Kashmir.

The tests will be of 45-minute with two subjects (15 points for each subject) combined on each day.

Many parents were aghast over the department’s decision.

“Not only government schools but even there are many parents of students studying in private schools who are not tech-savvy. How does the administration expect the students to appear in the exams without any prior knowledge of the process,” said Jan Mohammad, parent of two school-going children.

There are over 10,800 government schools across the Kashmir valley.

Advisor to the lieutenant governor, K.K Sharma who holds the school education charge said that he was not aware of the order and directed his staff to look into the issue.

Director school education Younis Malik said that the students need not panic as the test was for assessment purpose only.

“We just wanted to see the feedback. There are around 42,000 students studying in Class 8, of which 33,000 have contacted us for the assessment which sort of encouraged us. We are mulling to use this for assessment only, not for any grading purposes,” he said.

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