The Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board is all set to hold the Secondary School Leaving Certificate examination (SSLC) or 10th standard exam from Thursday with all precautionary measures in place.
The exam was supposed to take place from March 27 onwards, but it was postponed due to the lockdown. While a few neighbouring states have given general promotion to the 10th standard students due to coronavirus scare, the Karnataka government has decided to hold the exam from June 25 to July 3.
"We are taking all precautionary measures to ensure the safety and security of the children in association with the home department and the health department," Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters on Wednesday. "This examination is not a prestige issue for the government. This is the challenge we are accepting as our duty," he said. "We are conducting this examination after consulting many political, social, religious leaders, education experts and parents," he added.
As many as 8,48,203 children will appear for the examination at 2,879 exam centres, education department officials said, adding that each examination hall will have only 18 to 20 students.
Some students who have tested positive for the virus are set to miss the exam, The Hindu reported.
Activists have been objecting to the exams being held. Arun Prasad, an activist said, â€śPolice above the age of 55 have been put on leave, but there are many teachers who are above 55 who will be working today. Why this step-motherly treatment for teachers?â€ť he asked.
According to the minister, special sitting arrangements in separate rooms have been made for children with fever where they will be given N95 masks. The supervisors will also get N95 masks and sanitisers, he added. The minister said the decision to hold exams was taken after getting approval from the Union Home Ministry and the Human Resource Development Ministry.
A total of 5,755 health check-up centres have been set up. The education department has roped in 81,265 employees to conduct the exam. These personnel will be present in the examination centres by 7 am.
According to the Education Minister, adequate arrangements such as sanitisers and masks have been made at the centres. He requested students to bring with them water bottles from home. For those who fail to bring it, water has been arranged at the centres.
Kumar said the police department will handle the safety and security arrangements whereas the health department will take care of sanitising the examination halls. "We will sanitise the exam halls every day after the exams are over. In addition, in every examination centre, physical education teachers are deployed to ensure social distancing among the students," Kumar said.
Another important decision as per the standard operating procedure, which has been taken, is about the transportation of every child in every exam centre in the state, Suresh Kumar added. There will be free transportation in buses for students till the examination centres if they show their hall tickets. The department has also hired buses on contract for children who do not have government buses to pick and drop them to their nearest destinations. There is free bus travel available for children coming from Kasaragod in Kerala to Sulya in Karnataka from the inter-state border to the exam centres, the minister said.
With PTI inputs