The selection of Student Police Cadets (SPC) from among eighth standard students during the COVID-19 lockdown has caused heartburn to some sections of parents and students across the State.
Considering the lockdown situation, the schools conducted the SPC selection on the basis of the marks they scored last year in seventh standard. Till this year, the SPC selection was made on the basis of a special written test and a physical test.
A section of parents alleged that the new selection procedure had denied chances for the so-called ‘all-rounders’ from among the students. Instead, only those who topped in class and annual examinations were considered for selection.
According to teachers and SPC managers, the selection process would not ensure 100 per cent quality, but would not deny the chances of toppers in classes.
State-level SPC officials said they had little choice as the COVID-19 lockdown had upset all schedules. The authorities decided to conduct the selection for the current academic year on the basis of last year’s marks as they feared that a break would cause the SPC programme to stop.
Introduced in 2010, SPC is currently being implemented in 747 high schools and higher secondary schools across the State. Its popularity increased over the years with the students joining hands with the State police and taking up various law enforcement awareness programmes, particularly traffic related programmes.
Equal consideration is being given to boys and girls in SPC. Twenty-two boys and girls each were selected from designated schools. They would undergo training for two years, and would be awarded grace marks for SSLC if they qualify.
SPC managers, however, refuted the claims of the parents that physical fitness would matter a great deal in the SPC selection. Unlike the National Cadet Corps (NCC), the SPC does not require a ‘considerable’ fitness. Even the fitness test used to be simple, and the students could afford to lose three out of the eight simple tests.
However, what caused angst to some parents was the selection of SPC before other grace-mark winning programmes like Scout and Guide, NCC, Junior Red Cross, and Little KITEs. Usually, all those selections used to take place at the same time and most students would secure a selection for any of them.