Over 5.72 lakh second pre-university (PU) students – all wearing masks, and some even gloves – gathered at 1,016 centres across the State on Thursday morning to give the last paper (English) as their parents waited anxiously outside. However, despite the government issuing strict rules on social distancing, there were cases of students and parents flouting them, especially once the examination was over.
At many centres that The Hindu visited, students were seen standing in groups outside the centres catching up with friends and discussing the paper.
“We are relieved as we have finally finished the exams. It was a long wait of almost three months. I had not met my friends for a long time and, hence, I am quite excited,” said a student at a centre in K.R. Puram in Bengaluru.
There was crowding at noticeboards listing the seating arrangements, a problem that the government aims to rectify in the future.
In Mysuru, some parents took objection to the lack of arrangements to ensure that students could maintain social distancing while entering Government Maharani’s PU College. This was resolved after the college authorities intervened and ensured students’ safety.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar said that most of the centres had adhered to the SOPs issued by the department. “However, it has come to our notice that there were some problems in around 25 centres across the State. The department will service notices to the officials concerned and take necessary action,” he said.
The examination was scheduled to be held on March 23, but was postponed on account of the pandemic. Across Karnataka, around 20 students reported to their centres with cold, cough and/or fever, and were assigned separate rooms to write the paper. Around 220 students from containment zones were assigned separate rooms.
Around 23,630 students did not appear for the examination on Thursday. However, officials said COVID-19 was not the reason. In 2019, over 36,000 students did not appear for the English paper despite registering.
Many students complained that the masks were a distraction. “As we are not used to wearing a mask for three hours continuously, it was irritating,” said one student.
This examination was a litmus test: Minister
Taking a cue from problems faced at examination centres, Mr. Suresh Kumar said that the government will address them while conducting the class X SSLC examinations later this month.
“We came across a few practical problems like crowding in front of notice boards. Hence, we will send information of seating arrangements and classrooms to the registered number of SSLC students,” he said, adding that more notice boards on the same would be placed at multiple spots.
Result likely in the first week of July
If all goes as planned, results will be declared in the first week of July. According to Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar, of the 39 subjects, evaluation of papers of 26 subjects had been completed.
1,140 students from Kerala appear for examination in DK
As many as 1,140 second-year pre-university students from Kerala, including 760 from Kasaragod, who are studying in colleges in Dakshina Kannada, appeared for the English examination.
The students from Kasaragod and other areas came with their hall tickets to the border checkposts at Talapady and seven other places in the district. After thermal scanning and registration, a nodal officer at these checkposts brought these students in 32 KSRTC buses to examination centres in Mangaluru, Vitla, Sullia and Puttur. After the examination was over, students were dropped back at the checkposts.
“Despite all efforts, we could not prevent crowding near Talapady checkpost in the morning,” said an official involved in the task.