“You have no reason to be anxious. Just relax for a few minutes before attempting your question paper….”

That was Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Vishweshwar Hegde Kageri's advice to a nervous student from Bilgi in Bagalkot, who will appear for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examinations 2010 that will begin on April 1.

The Minister, on Wednesday, launched a helpline for SSLC students.

He answered a couple of calls himself, before handing it over to the experts to handle.

The helpline will be operated by psychologists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, counsellors from Samudra, a non-governmental organisation, and subject experts from the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board, who answer the queries of students and their parents.

“The helpline was first launched for the Pre-University Course. After it was received well, we decided to extend the service to SSLC also. The students are under tremendous pressure to excel. The helpline would help instil some confidence in them before they appear for the examination,” he said.

K. Radhakrishna, managing director of Samudra, said, “Fear is what affects students the most during examinations. It is during this period that parents should motivate their wards and instil confidence in them, instead of pressurising them.”

He also said that counselling should be offered throughout the year and not just during examinations. He urged the Government to look into it.

Srikala Bharath from the Department of Psychiatry, NIMHANS, said that the helpline, which is an end-friendly concept, helps ease the students' mental anxiety. “Launching this helpline before the SSLC examinations will be useful for many students across the State,” she said.

Department officials claimed that most calls were received from students in rural areas, who wanted tips to get over examination fear. “The main intention of the helpline is to instil confidence in students, and not to clear their subject-related doubts,” officials said.

The helpline numbers are (080) 23312244, 23312245, and will function between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Keywords: SSLCexaminationshelpline