As state board examinations for Class 12 commence in Kashmir, most students say they are “happy” because the question paper followed the “relaxation” pattern announced by the government – “those who studied 50% of the syllabus will be able to attempt 100% of the paper”.
Over 94.53% of those expected to take the exams on the first day turned up amid high security.
Anxious in the morning as to whether the paper would reflect a relaxed syllabus, they came out of the halls in evening “happy” and said “the paper was easy”.
Shahbaz Ahmed, a science student who had his exam centre at Srinagar’s SP Higher Secondary School, said the “paper was easy” and had sufficient questions to choose from.
He said that as the first paper has shown that the coming exams will also be “easy” and students will be able to score high marks.
Following political debates over holding exams in either November or March, the state government in an unprecedented decision decided to hold the Class 10 and 12 board exams twice — in November with 50% syllabus and in March with the full syllabus for students who fail to appear this time.
But Ahmed explained why he chose to appear in November.
“I had opted for the November session of exams because firstly, we get a syllabus relaxation and secondly, we get enough time to prepare for competitive entrance exams,” said Ahmed, who is an engineering aspirant.
Protests broke out across Kashmir following the July killing of top militant Burhan Wani. Since then, the Valley has remained under curfew with more than 90 people dead and thousands injured.
Vijdan Ahmed, a class 12 science student from strife-torn south Kashmir’s Shopian town, said that students had apprehensions regarding their safety while travelling to exam centres from their homes. “But the presence of a large number of security personnel relieved us. And ultimately everything turned out just fine,” he said.
Regarding the question paper, he said: “Although instructions regarding how to go about the paper considering the recently announced syllabus relaxations were not printed but the examiners explained to us the same.”
He added: “We students were very scared till now regarding how the question papers will be but after the first paper and the instructions explained everyone is happy.”
A class 12 student from north Kashmir’s Sopore town, who did not wish to be named, said that the situation for the last four months in the sensitive area was not conducive for education.
She said her performance was not “up to the mark” because she could not complete even the 50% of the syllabus.
“Exam was not so good. Kuch padhi hi nahi thi toh likhti kya (Hadn’t studied anything so what could I have written),” she said.
Students say they were facing a conundrum as the government was determined to conduct exams while they complained of not having completed the syllabus due to a continuous shutdown of schools since July.
Aasif Lone, a student from Srinagar’s old city area, had faced tremendous difficulties in studying the last four months. His school was closed down and at the peak of the unrest, when he and a few friends tried to visit a tuition teacher in the neighbourhood, they were chased away by angry protesters.
But Lone appeared in his Chemistry exam on Monday and is optimistic that he will fare well.
“Rumours were going around that there might be stone-pelting on our exam centre. But nothing of the sort happened. Moreover, there were enough questions to choose from in the paper and we could attempt maximum of them although we had not studied the complete syllabus,” he said.