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Karnataka holds English II PU exam following social distancing guidelines

The II PU exams were conducted at 1,016 centres across the state and proper social distancing guidelines were maintained.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | New Delhi |
Updated: July 13, 2020 6:10:42 pm
Colleges have made elaborate arrangements to ensure social distancing, health checks. (Express Photo by Ralph Alex Arakal)

The Department of Pre-University Education, Karnataka on Thursday conducted the pending English II PU examination. The department conducted the exam at various centres across the state and proper social distancing guidelines were maintained. Thermal screening of every student was also done before allowing them in the exam hall for the respective exam.

According to Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, 95.46 per cent of the total registered students (5.95 lakh II PU students) appeared for the English paper — scheduled to be held on March 23, the same day when the first phase of the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the virus was announced.

The exams that began at 10.15 am concluded at 1:30 pm. The principal of SSMRV College, Vasanthalakshmi BR, while speaking to confirmed adequate arrangements for sanitisers and face masks across the campus. Further, she added that students have been asked to bring their own sanitisers and masks.

The exam was postponed due to Covid-19 induced nationwide lockdown and the new schedule was set in a meeting of higher officials, also attended Karnataka Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S Suresh Kumar earlier this month.

Meanwhile, the Karnataka Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams, which was also postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will now be held from June 25 till July 4. The class 10 exams were initially scheduled to be held from March 27 till April 9.

“As many as 5,68,975 students attended the English exam on Thursday while 27,022 gave it a miss. A total of 5,95,997 students had registered for the examination,” Suresh Kumar said.

Meanwhile, 223 students from containment zones appeared for the exam across the state. According to statistics shared by the Department of Pre-University Education (DPUE), 162 of them were from Dharwad, while 15 others were from Shimogga and 13 students from Davangere among others.

“Students who exhibited even minor health issues and differences in body temperatures were made to sit in separate rooms made ready in each centre,” Suresh Kumar added.

According to DPUE officials, an additional 13,528 rooms were arranged across centres in the state apart from the 23,064 rooms in which all exams were held before the lockdown began.

Further, the Minister claimed that the PU exams held this year were totally “incident-free.” He said, “No instances of question paper leaks or untoward incidents were reported from across 1,016 exam centres in the state. While elaborate arrangements were made by officials and teachers across colleges, students and parents also cooperated with us on all social distancing measures and other guidelines in place.”

Last month in a meeting with the department of public instructions, Kumar discussed the feasibility and precautionary measures of conducting the exam in the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Admission season on even before exams conclude’

Speaking to outside exam centres in Bengaluru while waiting for their children to return after completing the final PU exam, parents said that admission processes in degree colleges were already underway.

Mallikarjuna KN, a parent who was waiting outside Christ College said, “Private colleges began approaching us right from the end of April itself. Seats have been offered in various courses provided the fee is paid is advance. While we haven’t paid the fee anywhere yet, children have been attending online interviews at these colleges even as they were preparing for the only PU exam left to conclude,” he said.

Skeptical of online classes for higher education: Students

At the same time, students remained skeptical of online classes even as they shared aspirations to join colleges for higher studies soon. “We are scared to go to colleges due to the ongoing coronavirus situation around. However, online education is not something we look forward to even if we wait for a longer time to begin classes in colleges,” Iman Fatima, a II PU (Commerce) student at Jyoti Nivas College, Bengaluru said.

With the success claimed by the government in conducting the first State-level exam since the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced in an “error-free and incident-free” manner, Karnataka is now geared up to conduct the SSLC exams scheduled to be held from June 25 to July 3.

However, students residing in containment zones will not be allowed to appear in the Karnataka SSLC exams. They will be instead treated as fresh candidates and will be allowed to attend the exams later. “Fresh sets of hall tickets and marks cards will be issued for such candidates,” minister Suresh Kumar had announced earlier last month.

The examinations for these students are likely to be conducted along with supplementary exams that usually take place later, the minister said.

As many as 8,48,192 students have registered for the SSLC examination.

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