The Assam State School Education Board Bill, 2024, aimed at merging the Board of Secondary Education Board, Assam (SEBA) and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC), was tabled during the ongoing Budget session of the state legislative assembly on Wednesday.
On the third day of the Budget session, the crucial bill was presented to establish the School Education Board, Assam which will oversee the conduction of the final exams starting from Class 9, up to Class 12. On behalf of education minister Ranoj Pegu, cabinet minister Pijush Hazarika tabled the bill.
Meanwhile, speaking today outside the assembly, Ranoj Pegu said, "Yesterday in the assembly, we presented an important bill to amalgamate the SEBA and AHSEC boards. We had announced this plan some time ago. As you may know, previously we merged the primary and secondary education departments to form the Department of School Education."
"Similarly, we have two directorates, the Directorate of Elementary Education and Directorate of Secondary Education, which will be merged in the future to form the Directorate of School Education," he added.
Turning his attention back to the merging of the two boards, Ranoj Pegu said, "We are amalgamating both boards to form the Board of School Education. This is being done as per the National Education Policy, according to which a new system of e-Vidyalaya Shiksha which will incorporate Class 1 up to Class 12. Accordingly, school education will be folded and the final exam will conducted at the end of Class 12. All of it will be overseen by a single board."
"However, the final exams from Class 9 up to Class 12 will not be conducted by the respective schools, but by the board," he further added.
When asked if the system of recognizing meritorious students in Class 10 board exams will continue to exist, he asked reporters whether it was necessary. "The recognition accorded to excelling students in board exams is nothing more than a social recognition. No educational institute looks into it while admitting students for further education. Hence, this system will stand abolished.
When implemented, the Act will ensure the consolidation of SEBA and AHSEC to a new board called the School Education Board, Assam. Moreover, the government is expected to release a notification subsequently forming two divisions under the board, as per the provisions of the Act. The divisions, Division I and Division II will comprise from Class VI to X, and Classes XI, and XII, respectively.
The Board will comprise of a chairman, nominated by the government, and a vice-chairman of each division, also nominated by the government. Apart from that, the ex-officio members will include the senior-most Secretary of School Education, Assam; Secretary of Division-1; Secretary of Division-II; Mission Director, National Health Mission, Assam; Chairman of State Council of Vocational Training; Director of Employment and Craftsmen Training; Director of Secondary Education, Assam; Director of Elementary Education, Assam; Director of State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) Assam; Director of Social Justice and Empowerment; Director of Tea Tribe Welfare; and Director of Bodo and Other Tribal Language.
The government will also nominate members, including an Inspector of Schools, a Principal of Higher Secondary Schools, a Headmaster, a Headmistress of High Schools, a representative from three Universities of the State of Assam based on the recommendations of the respective Vice-Chancellors, and a representative from the Middle English (M.E.) Schools Teachers’ Association, High School Teachers’ Association, Madhaymik Sikshak Santha, or Higher Secondary Teachers’ Association. Additionally, three Principals of colleges, preferably from each stream, will also be included.
The Board will also include co-opted members. It has the authority to appoint up to three members from renowned educationists, who will be different from those nominated by the government.
Furthermore, the state government will designate a state government officer serving as an acting joint secretary in each division to serve as the ex-officio secretary of the respective divisions of the board. This individual will also hold ex-officio membership on the Board. The government will determine the compensation for the Secretary, which will be disbursed from the Board's Fund as needed.
The government will nominate the chairman and vice chairman of the board for a three-year term. Members must be under 70 years old when appointed or re-appointed, and they may serve a second three-year term as stated in the bill.