A day after the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) released a circular announcing date and curriculum for the upcoming common entrance test (CET) for admissions to first year junior college (FYJC) courses, students from other school education boards are a worried lot.

Parents as well ICSE school groups have approached the state school education minister Varsha Gaikwad calling the CET exam unfair to those students from boards other than Maharashtra state board.

“We are aware that the CET exam will be conducted based on the state board class 10 curriculum and equal weightage will be given to subjects of English, Maths, Science and Social Sciences. However, in ICSE, students have the option of dropping maths and science in classes 9 and 10 so how do our students prepare for this exam?” stated a letter addressed to minister Varsha Gaikwad by the Association of ICSE schools in Maharashtra.

This year, class 10 board exams across several school education boards HSC to be scrapped due to rising Covid-19 cases. Results for the class 10 batch was instead based on students’ performance in classes 9 and 10 combined. While the other boards are yet to announce results, MSBSHSE released SSC results on Friday, July 16.

According to the circular released by the state board on Monday, an optional CET exam based solely on SSC syllabus and consisting of multiple choice questions (MCQs) for 100 marks will be conducted. This two hour paper will be conducted in physical mode on August 21 from 11am to 1pm and registrations for this exam has started from today.

Last month, a class 10 ICSE students also approached the Bombay high court seeking help in this matter. The student’s petition points out the ‘bias’ against students of other boards and the added stress for students therefore. This matter is up for its second hearing on July 22 and parents as well as ICSE schools are hoping for relief.

Similarly, Members of International Schools Association (MISA) has also approached Gaikwad for clarity on whether class 10 exam scores of students from International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) board can be considered instead of CET scores at the time of admission to FYJC seats.

“Unlike other class 10 students, our children appeared for their class 10 exams in physical mode despite rising fear of Covid. Therefore, these students should be allowed to seek admissions in the basis of their exam score,” said MISA in a letter addressed to Gaikwad. They’ve also sought clarity on whether IGCSE students who do appear for the CET will have the choice to choose between their board score and CET score, whichever is higher, at the time of admission.

“This is a matter of lives of so many students, it’ll be unfair to not give them a level playing field. We have requested that the education minister hold a meeting with all stakeholders to understand the issue better,” said Anubha Sahai, president, India Wide Parent Association (IWPA). Minister Varsha Gaikwad, however, was unavailable for comments.

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