Tuesday saw the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams kick off to a relatively smooth start and witnessed only a few minor problems.
Around 300 students at an exam centre in Khopoli received extra time to write their papers as the centre had received the question papers late. While the morning session was supposed to begin at 11 am, the question papers reached the centre by 11.50 am. This happened due to a mix up where the question papers meant for this centre was delivered to a neighbouring one.
“The papers were eventually brought to the centre by 11.50 am so the students were given extra time to make up for the time lost,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, secretary of the board’s Mumbai division.
He also said that the number of flying squads —monitoring groups consisting of board and education officials who pay surprise visits to the centres — has been increased to four after the HSC paper leaks in the last five days. “We needed for more squads to ensure that neither students nor teachers could sneak in mobile phones into exam centres,” said Chandekar.
School principals across Mumbai have also volunteered to be a part of these squads. “We have offered to help the board in keeping an eye on exam centres so that more papers are not leaked,” said Prashant Redij, head of the Mumbai School Principals Association, and principal of Hilda Castelino High School in Kandivli.
The exams began with papers on regional languages such as Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi and foreign languages like French on Tuesday. The papers for many of the languages were prepared in the new activity-based format, which tests students on their writing skills and creativity, rather than rote learning.
The new pattern evoked mixed reactions among the students. “I had not studied enough for the Marathi paper, but I was able to answer the entire paper as the new pattern includes report writing, letter writing and answering comprehension,” said Sapna Magar, 15, a student of Swami Vivekananda School, Vashi.
Another student, Ruddhi Raut, from Kandivli Education Society, said, “I had taken Marathi as my option and wrote the paper miserably. I could not complete the paper. Essays and letters take away most of our time. There is no time to even think.”
Students found Hindi (02) paper easier than those of the previous years. “It was better than past years’ and I completed it in the nick of time,” said Akshata Mali, from St Anne’s School, Borivli.