New Delhi: In a move that could benefit students and teachers, the government is considering digitizing answer papers of the class XII board examination from this school year.
Not only would it will reduce evaluation errors and enable easier re-evaluation, it will also ease the task of teachers by allowing them to access the answer papers from anywhere in the country.
The plan is to store the digitized answer papers in a central server that can be accessed instantly through a password.
The Union government-controlled Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has completed a pilot on this during the last class XII board exams and is enthused with the results.
“This initiative is a reform move aimed at benefiting students, at the same time reducing logistical hassles involved in the paper evaluation process,” CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said.
As a pilot, 500 answer papers of English were digitized in the Delhi circle among the CBSE regions and things will be scaled up in the coming years.
“We have plans to implement it in the class XII board exams of 2012. The students who will give their exams in 2012 will benefit,” Joshi said.
During the 2011 board exams, at least 769,929 students took the test.
With the government focusing more on secondary education, this number will only grow.
A human resource development ministry official, who did not want to be named, said that in areas where there is a shortage of teachers, the evaluation process gets delayed, and due to overloading, teachers tend to do the scrutiny in a hurry.
“Acceptance of technology in education can help improve situation,” said the official, adding that once implemented across the country, this process will help declaring the results early.
“The way the electronic voting machine speeded up the election process, this digitization has the potential to benefit similarly the class XII exam,” the ministry official argued.
Muralidhar S., chief executive officer of education technology company MeritTrac, said that the government is now open to accepting technology in education. His company had conducted the pilot for CBSE.
“This will bring a revolution in the exam evaluation process,” said Muralidhar, whose company specializes in the examination and assessment domains.
MeritTrac was one of the companies instrumental in making Common Admission Test 2010 a success for the Indian Institutes of Management.
“A teacher can sit at his home, log on to his or her computer and start evaluating answer papers. With this, answer papers, for example, of the Ajmer region, can be checked in Chennai region. A teacher can evaluate at his own time,” a CBSE official said on condition of anonymity.
Authorities say that tens of thousands of students every year apply for re-evaluation and rechecking of answer papers after the results are out. This becomes a tedious process for the board to accomplish. Once the papers are digitized, students can easily access them in case of doubt.
Officials claim around 10% of students apply for rechecking of answers across India. Mint could not independently verify this claim.
“Sometimes there are genuine complaints as some teachers may have done injustice in marking or due to human error. We always give evaluators answers for all questions, and through digitization, overseeing their work can be done as well,” the CBSE chairman said.
Ankit, a class XII student in Bhubaneswar, said that any process that helps students should be adopted as it will make the evaluation process simpler and free of errors.
“We can feel mentally satisfied if we know that teachers have done their work properly and someone senior has supervised it,” said Ankit, who uses only one name.
Joshi said in 2012, if not completely, the board will digitize English and economics answer papers. A year later, all papers will be digitized.