Bengaluru: Defying the coronavirus pandemic, 98 per cent of the 7.85 lakh students of class 10 wrote their first Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) board exam in English across Karnataka on Day 1, an official said on Friday.
“Of 7,85,140 students who registered for the English paper as the second language, 7,71,877 or 98 per cent of them took the exam on Thursday in 2,878 centres across the state,” Karnataka Secondary Education Examination board director V Sumangala told IANS here.
Though 8.5 lakh students registered for the board exams from June 25-July 4 in as many as 33 subjects, including optionals, Sumangala clarified that the number of those appearing for each subject would vary, depending upon how many of them had opted for it.
”The 8.5 lakh students who registered for the board exams included regulars, freshers, repeaters and private students who appeared directly and not through schools, especially in towns and villages across the state,” she added.
Of the students who wrote the paper on Day 1, 12,548 were children of migrant workers, 1,438 stayed in residential hostels or schools, 998 were from containment zones, 555 from other states, 201 who had cold, cough and other symptoms and 13 who tested positive for Covid-19 though they were seated in separate exam centres.
“With the cooperation of parents and all stakeholders, the SSLC board exams began on a high note, as more than 98 per cent of the registered students appeared for the English paper across the state when many states and the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) cancelled their exams for class 10 students across the country,” said state education minister S Suresh Kumar.
The minister also appreciated the students for reposing faith in the board and reporting to their respective exam centres well in time, wearing a mask, sanitizing their hands and maintaining social distancing.
“While authorities, including teachers, would do their best in conducting the remaining papers till July 4 in all subjects, we hope students and their parents would strictly follow the guidelines from the time they leave home and return from the exam centre,” reiterated Kumar.
Students who missed the exam would be allowed to appear for supplementary exams in August, if they convinced the department of the reason for their absence.
“We will verify the reasons for skipping the exam. If genuine, we will allow the absentees to sit for the supplementary exams. The department officials will contact the absentees and find out why they missed the exam,” said Kumar.
The minister also assured parents and guardians that their wards were safe at the exam centres.
“There is no question of cancelling our exams like the CBSE and others have done. We will complete the remaining exams as scheduled by July 4 in the interest of all students who could not appear in March due to the lockdown and its extension till May 31,” added Kumar.
A whopping 86,000 people, including 63,000 state-run school teachers and 23,000 from other departments such as health, police and social welfare were on duty for the smooth conduct of the exams in six subjects, including English, Kannada, third language, natural sciences, social sciences and mathematics.
“Nearly 200-250 students have been accommodated at each centre, with nearly 200 at the centres located in the containment zones, said Sumangala.
The exams were earlier scheduled from March 27 to April 9, but were put off as the lockdown was extended thrice up to May 31.
As a two-metre distance was kept between two students, more exam centres had been arranged to comply with the guidelines.
Each exam centre had also been equipped with sanitizer dispensers to wash hands before and after the exams.