Students board HSC Express

New syllabi, terror scare major concerns as 11 lakh pupils embark on month-long journey today

The long and anxious wait is finally over for lakhs of students attempting their Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams. As the class XII exams begin from Thursday, students and parents are expecting nothing short of a harrowing time this year.

Says Anahita Nair, a commerce student from Sathaye College in Vile Parle, "We have been told to expect a slightly tougher paper than last year by our school and coaching class. I have also heard that we all will be frisked at the exam centre and checked for mobile phones. I hope this will not cause delay in sitting for the exams."

Several parents have also taken leave to be with their children. "My son wanted both of us to be present during this difficult time. We will be dropping and picking him up daily from his centre. I have taken a 15-day break for this from my work," said Brinda Raghvan, a bank employee residing in Chembur.

The absence of enough previous board papers is distressing Ashisth Upadhyay, a science student from Kandivili. "Since last year was the first paper after the change in syllabi, I am worried. I just have one paper to practice from," he bemoans.

Amidst the mounting tension, teachers have cautioned students against studying everything just before exam. Kiran Mangaonkar, principal of Mithibai college, Vile Parle advises students to concentrate on their select portions and revise them instead of the entire material."Ideally, they should form their own model answers and write them out. This way, they will retain 80% of what they have studied," he added.

Colleges in the city are also gearing up for the exams. This year, 1,830 centres have been allocated for the tests. The board has taken ample precautionary measures to prevent malpractice and punish the offenders severely. "Flying squads will visit sensitive centres to keep a check on cheating and other malpractices. Video shooting should also discourage students from resorting to unfair means," said Basanti Roy, divisional secretary, Maharashtra State Board for Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

Priya Ramakrishnan/ DNA-Daily News & Analysis Source: 3D Syndication