The Department of School Education is examining the possibility of sending its personnel as escort for answer sheets of the ongoing Standard X public examinations, when they are transported from the examination venues to the post office, and possibly even up to the valuation centres.

This follows two instances in which Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination answer scripts got lost or damaged during transit. While a couple of bundles of English Paper –II belonging to students who took the examination in a school at Ginjee, Villupuram district, went missing, a bundle of Tamil Paper-II was found damaged on the railway track near the Vridhachalam station.

Official sources, however, told The Hindu here on Thursday that a final decision was yet to be taken, as logistical problems and the need to maintain secrecy of name and location of valuation centres need to be considered.

In the present procedure, officials said that after an examination got over, the answer scripts are bundled, put into special tamper-proof covers, wrapped in polythene covers, to prevent damage from rain, after which the requisite forms are affixed.

After this, personnel from the Department of School Education deliver the bundles to the post office concerned. The Department of Posts send the answer scripts to a valuation centre by the Railway Mail Service.

The Department of Posts has handled 12,000 insured bags of Class XII and Class X answer sheets this year in the Western Region. The department had a system already to ensure safe handling of the answer sheets.

For instance, the number of bags accepted and delivered was monitored and an escort sent if there were a large number of bags. The postal personnel have been asked to be more vigilant now. There are sufficient security measures, said an official of the department.

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