Mumbai schools worried about seating record number of HSC students
Owing to a 6% increase in HSC exam takers this year, centres have been assigned more students than last yearUpdated: Feb 25, 2017 23:58 IST
With 3.4 lakh students — the highest-ever in Mumbai division’s history — appearing for the Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams starting from Tuesday, exam centres are facing a space crunch. Some have moved their assigned students to nearby schools and colleges, while others have ordered extra benches to seat the students.
The situation has left schools and other exam centres worried that the first day of exams could be chaotic if students don’t check their revised seating arrangement beforehand.
Owing to a 6% increase in HSC exam takers this year, centres have been assigned more students than last year, in some cases, exceeding their capacity. Centres with a capacity of 400 to 500 students received more than 700 students.
The Anjuman-i-islam’s Dr MIJ Girls’ High School in Bandra received 780 students, far more than it can seat. When it was assigned 400 students last year, it had to use two neighbouring schools as sub-centres. This time, only one school — Bandra Hindu Association located 1.2km away — has agreed to share the load.
“We have arranged for 180 students to write their papers from the Hindu Association. The other school that helped us last year — Awami Siddique — has been turned into a full-fledged exam centre, so they cannot accommodate our students,” complained Saba Patel, principal.
As a result, the school is in the process of adding more benches to its classrooms. “We have room for 25 students a class, but will need accommodate 30 a class by adding tables and chairs. The onus of finding the extra furniture is on us,” said Patel.
Vaze Kelkar College in Mulund will use additional classrooms to accommodate students. This has forced them to cancel lectures for some of the degree college students for a few days. “We were allotted 750 students though our capacity is just 600,” said Vidyadhar Joshi, vice-principal of the college. “Luckily, we can adjust. As we have an attached degree college, the extra students can be accommodated in these additional classrooms. However, this will be a problem for smaller schools and colleges.”
It’s the same story at Anandibai Damodar College, Borivli, which will move a few of its students to the neighbouring JB Khot School to write the exam. Goregaon’s Vivek Vidyalaya will be operating at full capacity, with 780 students. “This is our maximum capacity,” said Suresh Nair, principal of the school. “We are the biggest centre in our area.”
Board officials said the problem arose as the number of centres could not be increased in proportion to the students. There are only 500 HSC centres. “Owing to security reasons, we did not want too many,” said Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary of the board. Sub-centres are smaller centres that can accommodate fewer than 100 students. They are monitored by the main centres.
Why accommodating students was a challenge
HT reported on February 17 that 20,000 more students — an increase of 6% compared to last year — will appear for the HSC exam this year from Mumbai, because a record-breaking number of students — 86.13% — passed the SSC exams in 2015.
Form 17 — for students appearing for the exams as private candidates — registrations are open till one day before the exams. As a result, student registrations will keep increasing till February 27. This means that the board will not know the exact number of students writing the exam till then.
There are only 500 HSC centres. The number of centres could not be increased as the board does not want too many sub-centres, fearing a risk to security.
3,39, 672 students registered for the HSC exams, which begin on February 28
18,112 of these are students which opted for other boards after Class 10
3,87, 041 students have registered for the SSC exams, which start on March 7
The numbers are expected to soar as registrations via form 17 — which allows students to appear as private candidates — are open till February 27 for HSC, and March 6 for SSC students
3,20,733 students appeared for HSC exams
3,73,435 students appeared for the SSC exams