Srinagar: Amid strict precautionary measures in view of Covid-19, nearly 75,000 students on Wednesday appeared in the first paper of Class 10 annual regular examination-2020, the first board examination in the valley to be held through offline mode during the pandemic.
Conducted by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE), the annual examination commenced on Wednesday with only the vocational subject paper on the first day.
A relatively large number of students – precisely 74,858 of them – appeared in Wednesday’s paper out of the 75,063 students who had registered for the annual board exam, Joint Secretary (in charge) Examinations at JKBOSE, Prof Aijaz Ahmad Hakak, told Kashmir Reader.
Prof Hakak informed that a total of 814 centres for the examination – many more than last year – were set up in the valley to ensure social distancing.
Mask wearing and availability of hand sanitisers was also ensured at the examination centres, he added.
The SOPs were indeed in place inside the exam centres, but outside the premises of many examination centres there were usual crowds of students and parents, some of them without masks and effectively undoing all the disease containment efforts.
As per a student, who wrote his paper at a centre in Srinagar city, the social distancing measures also checked copying by the students.
“As the students sat quite a distance apart, there was no copying. But the paper was very easy,” he said.
By “easy”, the students are referring to the 40 percent relaxation in syllabus announced by the government in view of the pandemic.
The students have been asked to attempt only 60 percent of the questions as a one-time relaxation.
Apart from the syllabus relaxation, parents seem to be excited more about the return of offline examination.
“It is good that offline exams have been finally held. There is a huge difference between online and offline modes. What one does hands-on isn’t possible with online mode,” Shabir Ahmad, a parent, said.
Although the schools switched to online classes and assessment in view of the pandemic, the ban on high-speed internet in J&K and the vulnerability of the online exam to unfair means have been a concern.
Meanwhile, in view of the prediction of widespread rain and snow from November13 to 15 in J&K by the Meteorological Department, the Joint Secretary Examinations at JKBOSE said that directions have been issued to the in-charges of the examination centres to ensure proper heating and lighting arrangements for students whose papers are scheduled on these days.