Karnataka all set to hold SSLC exam amid coronavirus scare

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(EDS: Adding quotes of CM, former CMs) Bengaluru, June 24 (PTI): Amid the coronavirus scare in the state, the Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board is set to hold the 10th standard exam from Thursday with precautionary measures in place.

The exam was supposed to take place on March 27 but due to the lockdown it was postponed.

While a few neighbouring states have given promotion to the 10th standard students due to the virus scare, the Karnataka government 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.

As many as 8,48,203 students would appear for the examination at 2,879 exam centres, education department officials said, adding that each examination hall would have only 18 to 20 students.

According to the education minister, adequate arrangements such as sanitisers and providing of 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 would handle the safety and security arrangements whereas the health department would take care of sanitising the examination halls.

'We will sanitise the exam halls everyday after the exams are over. In addition to it, every examination centre will have physical education teachers deployed to ensure social distancing among the students,' Kumar said.

He said the photocopy centres, computer centres and cyber cafes in the vicinity of the exam centres would remain shut till the exams are over.

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, Kumar added.

There would be free buses for students till the examination centres if they show their hall tickets.

There would be free bus travel also available for children coming from Kasaragod in Kerala to Sulya in Karnataka from the inter-state border to the exam centres, the minister said.

According to him, special sitting arrangements in separate rooms have been made for children with fever where they would be given N95 masks.

The supervisors would also get N95 masks and sanitisers, he added.

The minister said the decision to hold exams was taken after getting nod from the Union Home Ministry and the Human Resource Development Ministry.

'We are conducting this examination after consulting many political, social, religious leaders, education experts and parents,' he added.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and former chief ministers Siddaramaiah and H D Kumaraswamy wished the students appearing for the SSLC exam good luck.

In his message, Yediyurappa said, 'The government has initiated all measures to conduct the examination smoothly.' He appealed to the students to follow the guidelines of the state government such as the use of masks and sanitisers and maintain social distancing.

'Face this important exam of your academic career with confidence and succeed without any fear. May you have a bright future,' the Chief minister tweeted.

While greeting the children appearing for the exam, Siddaramaiah told the government to live up to the faith reposed by the parents on it.

Kumaraswamy, in his video message, asked the students to be careful about the coronavirus in view of community spread of coronavirus in the state. PTI GMS NVG NVG