PUNE: The Maharashtra State Examination Council has clarified that the national talent search examination (NTSE) will be conducted only for Std X students from this year onwards. The exam, which has also been held for Std VIII students for several years, stands cancelled, it said.
The clarification comes in the wake of the confusion that prevailed among parents and students who were unaware of the change. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) conducts this exam nationwide annually to identify talented students and nurture them.
"My son started preparing for the talent search examination as soon as he passed Std VII," said Arvind Sharma, a parent. "He even joined a coaching class for which we paid a fee of Rs 2,500. However, now we have learnt that the exam will not be conducted for Std VIII. It is very frustrating. We have lost our money as the terms and conditions of the coaching class mentioned that fees will not be returned if admission is cancelled."
Sharma said that several other parents faced similar problems and that they had learnt about the change from the coaching class teacher.
Kishan Agarwal, another parent said, "These decisions should be taken before the academic year begins. Government officials must see to it that they do not cause inconvenience to the students. If they had cancelled the exam for Std VIII, it should have been announced in February or latest by March. We learned about it in July, which is very unfair."
P G Kulkarni, who coaches for the NTSE exam said, "We do keep an update on the date announcement for the examination. When the dates were announced by the council we read that the exam would be conducted for Std X. However, the announcement did not mention that the exam for Std VIII had been cancelled. There was confusion and we got it clarified from the examination council. It was a major disappointment as not just our efforts, but the efforts of the students have been wasted."
Mahavir Manerane, commissioner of the Maharashtra State Examination Council, said, "The exam is conducted by a Union government body. We received a notification in July, after which we publicised it. That's where the delay occurred. It is known that the NTSE exam is conducted for one standard only, so there is no need to be confused. Nevertheless, students should not be disappointed as the syllabus for the 'National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship' is the same, so their preparation will not be wasted."