Bengaluru: The Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examinations in Karnataka concluded on Friday with an overall average of about 98 per cent attendance amid the coronavirus scare. Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa congratulated the lakhs of students who appeared for the crucial exercise braving the coronavirus pandemic situation.
An average of about 98 per cent of 8.5 lakh odd enrolled students took the exams which began on June 25, after the government stuck to its decision to go ahead with them despite rising coronavirus cases but laid down a string of safety measures, including face masks and maintaining distancing by seating only one student a bench.
Examinations for all main subjects had been completed and alternative subjects such as music would take place on Saturday, Education department officials said.
"I heartily congratulate students who faced the examination even during the coronavirus pandemic," Mr Yediyurappa tweeted.
Expressing happiness over the successful completion of the examination, he greeted state Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, officers and employees of education department, health department, police and transport personnel.
"The exam is a proof that anything can be made possible if all the government departments work in tandem," Mr Kumar tweeted.
Later addressing a press conference, he said on Friday 98.10 per cent attendance was recorded compared to 98.76 for the same paper last year.
"Credit goes to children. First day, parents were scared and students were sceptical and there was a big challenge before us. But the children appearing for the exam instilled confidence. They came with masks, sanitisers and were careful about maintaining social distancing. Our children have set an example for others to follow," Mr Kumar said.
Lauding the students, parents and the government staff who made the exam possible ignoring the virus scare, Medical Education Minister Dr K Sudhakar said Karnataka has set an example by successfully conducting the examination.
The Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board, which conducted the examination, faced various challenges. While protecting students from coronavirus infection was the top priority, transportation, security and convincing the parents to allow their children to take up the exam were the other factors it encountered.
According to sources in the department, the education officers had directed authorities of all the schools to call the parents and students to make sure that they appear for the examinations.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and boards of various neighbouring states either gave general promotion or decided to give marks to the students based on their performance in the earlier tests conducted by the schools.
The exams were conducted at a time when there was a sudden spurt in coronavirus cases in Karnataka, especially Bengaluru. Expressing apprehension, former chief minister and JD(S) leader H D Kumaraswamy had appealed to the government to postpone the examination but the government went ahead with its decision.