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Karnataka SSLC exams: 99.6% turnout on first day amid Covid-19 fears, students find combined paper easy

Held in a revised format this year, students attended a combined exam with questions from core subjects (Mathematics, Science, Social Science) together on Monday. For the first time, SSLC students were exposed towards answering multiple-choice questions on OMR sheets.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar inspects an exam centre in Bengaluru as the exam was underway. (Express Photo)

As the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC equivalent to Class 10) exams began in Karnataka amid coronavirus fears on Monday, as much as 99.6 per cent of the total candidates enrolled for the same attended the exams.

“Among fresh (first-time attendees) candidates, 7,81,530 of the total 7,83,882 students attended the SSLC examination on Monday indicating an encouraging trend,” Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said.

According to Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (KSEEB) data, 99.6 per cent of the total (including repeaters) 8,52,191 candidates attended the mathematics exam, while science saw an attendance of 99.6 per cent from the total 8,43,976 enrolled for the same. The attendance for social science was 99.7 per cent of the total 8,24,689. The attendance had improved per subject as well, as opposed to 98.30, 98.36, and 98.43 per cent recorded for these subjects respectively last year.

Kumar added that 58 students from across the state attended the exam from Covid Care Cenres (CCC) across the state. “Arrangements were made as these students who had tested positive for Covid-19 were keen on writing the exam. Separate facilities at CCCs located taluk centres were readied with doctors and medical officers acting as invigilators. Ambulances were also provided to pick and drop the students back from the CCCs,” he said.

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While Mangaluru education district had the highest such candidates (14), another 111 students diagnosed with Covid-19 symptoms were redirected to isolation rooms provided at the respective centres across the state to complete the exam.

A total of 760 students from neighbouring states such as Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu had also appeared for the exam, with only one out-of-state student being absent.

Meanwhile, officials were seen complying with all Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and guidelines put forth by the health department in the wake of the Covid-19 situation. All centres visited by The Indian Express in Bengaluru witnessed the presence of Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers, police personnel, volunteers from scouts and guides, and representatives from a few NGOs ensuring norms were followed and candidates were assisted.

An ASHA worker outside an exam centre in Bengaluru ensures sanitisation. (Express Photo)

“While each student was subjected to thermal screening, we were told to keep note of those with symptoms in a bid to redirect them to a dedicated room set aside for candidates who were unwell. Fortunately, none of the 111 students who attended the exam here reported any such issue,” Shwetha, an ASHA worker at a government school in Sheshadripuram, said.

Meanwhile, Chandrasekhar R, a police officer deployed outside an exam centre in Malleshwaram, said, “Parents and guardians of candidates who had come to drop off their wards were asked not to stay around for a longer time. While announcements were made via loudspeakers reminding them of the same, they cooperated well as we could ensure hassle-free entry to candidates and exam officials.”

give-back-campaign-ngo-sanitiser-pen-bengaluru-mask-sslc-students Volunteers of GiveBack, a not-for-profit campaign distributes N-95 masks and sanitiser pens at the entrance of an exam hall in Bengaluru. Express Photo

At the same time, Radhakrishna K, who was part of GiveBack, a voluntary campaign, said Covid-safety kits were distributed to everyone entering selected centres in the city. “A pair of N-95 masks and sanitiser pens were distributed to all candidates and staff. It is encouraging to see the government taking a good step forward to enable exams in a safe and sound environment even amid the pandemic. Students were seen seemingly confident and happy to write the exams,” he said.


Corroborating the same, Mohammed Asif Khan, a student said after the exam, “We have been preparing mentally to write the exams from January itself but were worried that the exams would get cancelled. Even as CBSE and other board exams got called off, my friends and I were hopeful of writing the exams to score good marks instead of getting an aggregate score from previous years.”

Officials welcome an SSLC candidate with a rose at an exam centre in Mysuru. (Photo: Special arrangement)

Held in a revised format this year, students attended a combined exam with questions from core subjects (Mathematics, Science, Social Science) together on Monday. For the first time, SSLC students were exposed towards answering multiple-choice questions on OMR sheets.

Khan added that the paper was easy to complete even though there were questions from three different subjects. “Most students in my class could complete answering the paper much ahead of time. All of us left the hall with a smile, confident of scoring good grades,” he said moments after giving a high-five to his father, who was waiting outside the examination hall in Vidya Vaibhav Public School in Bengaluru’s Mathikere.

Nagaraj S R, a social science teacher of Adarsha High School in Bengaluru interacts with his students after the SSLC exam on Monday. (Express Photo)

Meanwhile, Nagaraj S R, a social science teacher at Adarsha High School in the city, said students were offered special training sessions on how to answer on OMR sheets as the format was novel to most of them. “To ensure our students get ample revision of the portions we taught them, they were turned into different groups of 10 each that enabled us to give individual attention to most of them using WhatsApp groups and other online modes that were accessible to all,” he explained.

The second and final SSLC exam is scheduled to be held on Thursday from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm.


Mangaluru: Fire breaks out in exam centre, SSLC candidates shifted safely

A fire broke out in the laboratory of a school near Ullal in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka on Monday while students were taking the SSLC examination in an adjacent room, police sources said.

Teachers immediately shifted the students to a nearby building and ensured that the examination was not interrupted, they said.  Fire service personnel rushed to the spot and extinguished the fire, they said.

(With PTI inputs)

First published on: 19-07-2021 at 08:00:54 pm
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