Gurgaon: The first common online assessment tests for classes 3 to 11 for government school students in Haryana through the Avsar app was off to a rough start as many could not appear for the exams, either due to technical glitches, weak internet connection or lack of digital skills.
While government schools put the number of those who faced the snags at 10-15%, it was much higher in a few places. For instance, at Chakkarpur government school, 70% of the students appeared for the test but nearly a third couldn’t log on to their devices. A weak internet connection in many homes didn’t help the students, even though the question papers were made available for 24 hours. Teacher kept receiving calls and texts from panicked children seeking directions when they couldn’t navigate the app to reach the link for the test.
“Many students hadn’t updated their apps and said their phone was constantly hanging and they kept getting logged out,” said Seema Rani, head of the primary section at Chakkarpur government school. She added that the education department had assured the problem is being resolved.
Sharing of smartphones was another pain point. The app failed to register many students who tried taking the test after their sibling had completed theirs or take them to the link to the question paper.
And the ones who managed to access the app didn’t find it easy either. Some failed to complete the test because they couldn’t understand the format, others logged out midway while a few faced difficulties in following the instructions for submitting the paper.
Officials claimed the initial hiccups were due to server overload and the issue was being addressed. The department said they expect the app-based assessment to work well in the future.
“We had a meeting with the education officers and asked them about the status of the tests. There were few issues related to the app, mostly due to server overload. Also, the issue of multiple students accessing one single app will be addressed. The next paper is on Thursday and we hope for an improved performance. These tests will help us understand and upgrade the app for future assessment purposes,” said a senior education department official.
Teachers and principals have, meanwhile, asked shiksha mitras (education volunteers) to assist all students who faced any issues. “Although students received training, many lack the ability to grasp things quickly. They need support that they can’t find at home. These hiccups are natural but things will stabilise soon,” said Manoj Lakhra, elementary headmaster, Government Senior Secondary School, Bajghera.
The assessment tests are the first in the Covid-disrupted academic year and a precursor to the annual exams. On Monday, the education department had rolled out its plan to hold a common online assessment test of students of classes 3 to 9 and 11. While students of classes 9 and 11 were given the option of choosing between the offline and online mode of assessment, those in the primary and secondary sections were asked to log on to the Avsar app.