Education authorities heave a sigh of relief as exams begin

Schools in district gear up to further tighten COVID-19 protocol

Notwithstanding the threat of another potential surge in COVID-19, the Education Department authorities in the district heaved a sigh of relief as both the SSLC and higher secondary exams eventually got under way on Thursday after getting delayed owing to the Assembly elections.

The SSLC exams are being taken by 32,598 students in over 319 centres while the higher secondary exams are being written by 35,797 students, including 1,307 privately registered students and 2,148 open school students across 197 centres in the district.

On the first day, only about 25% of the higher secondary students had exams since only five relatively rare subjects – sociology, anthropology, electronic service technology, and electronic systems – were involved.

“The exams went with clockwork precision in strict compliance with COVID-19 protocol. Last May, while holding the five exams postponed in the wake of the pandemic-induced lockdown, there was considerable tension since exams were being held in such alien conditions for the first time. But since then we have held Save a Year and first-year improvement exams, familiarising teachers with the protocol. We also have the support of health workers and the police who avoid crowding outside schools,” said Sakunthala K, Regional Deputy Director, Higher Secondary Education, Ernakulam, who visited multiple schools in the district to supervise the conduct of the exams.

Detailed protocol had been issued even if a COVID-19-positive student was to appear for the exam though no such case was reported anywhere from the district on Thursday.

With exams of science and commerce subjects to get under way on Friday, schools are gearing up to further tighten the COVID-19 protocol. Honey V. Alexander, Deputy Director of Education, Ernakulam, said that SSLC exams were also held without any hiccups. Except for three exams, including the language exam on opening day, the rest of the exams will be held in the morning. “Eleven COVID-19 positive patients appeared for the exam while three were absent,” she said.

Special squads have been deployed for monitoring the conduct of exams. Arrangements have also been made for special children.

Most number of students – 551 – will appear for exams at the SNDP High School, Udayamperoor, and Sivankunnu Government High School at Muvattupuzha with four students will host the lowest number of students.

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