The state board’s technology failed when it was most needed – on the day of the Class 12 HSC online exam for Information Technology (IT).
Illustrating a poor technology lesson, the board’s website crashed for nearly an hour on Monday morning at 11am when the IT exam was scheduled to start. “It just kept saying ‘server error’ when we tried to log in, then we restarted and it continued to show the same message for a long time,” said Vipul Agarwal, a student of Durgadevi Saraf Junior College in Malad, who appeared for the exam at the same centre. “We didn’t even get extra time to write the exam. Our teachers said we would have to take the paper again,” he added.
The exam finally began around 45 minutes after the scheduled time and ended at the scheduled time of 1.30pm. “Mumbai was the only division where we got complaints of technical glitches. Affected students can take the re-exam on Tuesday,” said S Dhekane, secretary, state education board. College principals said the board asked them to allow students to appear for the paper again, if they wished to.
“We were told we couldn’t exceed the time limit but the students could appear for the paper again,” said Marie Fernandes, principal, St Andrew’s College, Bandra. “We had one such student who was unable to complete the paper and appeared for a re-exam in the afternoon. The exams have been very smooth this year except for this one glitch.”
Board officials said they had received complaints from many centres but did not specify how many. They also denied that the paper was delayed by 45 minutes to an hour. “The site did not work for about 15 minutes, that is all,” said R Bhise, secretary of the Mumbai division of the board. “When the students requested we gave them extra time, it is not true that we did not.”
Bhise said he did not have figures for the number of students that appeared for the IT exam this year from Mumbai.