Nervous students complete first exam amid tight security

Examinees head for Motijheel Government Boy’s High School centre in Dhaka amid strict security measures as Secondary School Certificate Examination began on Friday amid political violence. — Sanaul Haque

Examinees head for Motijheel Government Boy’s High School centre in Dhaka amid strict security measures as Secondary School Certificate Examination began on Friday amid political violence. — Sanaul Haque

Examinees of Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations appeared for their first exam on Friday with riot police guarding the examination centres and Border Guard Bangladesh patrolling streets and highways amid the ongoing transport blockade enforced by the BNP-led alliance. The crucial SSC examinations scheduled to begin on February 2 were deferred twice due to strike and blockade. Bengali first paper exam was held by and large peacefully as there was no strike on Friday. On Saturday the examinees will sit for Bengali second paper, dakhil candidates will take Hadith Sharif and vocational students will sit for English 2 exams at 10am. These exams were earlier scheduled for Wednesday. Education ministry officials said they would decide on Saturday whether the English first paper exam would be held on Sunday, as Jamaat-e-Islami-backed Islami Chhatra Shibir called a dawn-to-dusk countrywide hartal on the day. During a visit to five centres in Dhaka, New Age found ruling party activists guarding examinations centres in Dhaka besides law enforcers. They said it was part of their programme to assist law enforcers in maintaining law and order and thwarting any untoward incidents during the exams. Guardians said they started early in the morning, even two and half hour beforehand, to reach the exam centre, keeping in mind the blockade and subsequent scarcity of vehicles. Guardians at  Azimpur Government Girls School and College, Siddeswari Girls High School, Mirpur Girls Ideal School and College, Tejgaon Government High school and Government Science College adjacent High School expressed deep concern about the security of the examinees to and from exam centers because of fear of petrol bomb attack on buses and crude bomb explosions. Several guardians waiting outside the centres demanded of the education minister to ensure security of their children sitting for the public exam. They said their children were panicked and worried. Panic spread among guardians waiting outside at Siddeswari Girls High School centre at about 10:30 when a crude bomb thrown by miscreants exploded within 100 yards of centre, though none was hurt. A guardian Fazlur Rahman Khan said they are worried whether the next exams will be held on time. Tahmina Khatun, a candidate of Holy Cross School and College, said one exam was over but she was uncertain about the fate of the exams to come. ‘In this situation we are confused about taking preparation for exams properly,’ she said. The National Monitoring Committee in-charge Gautom Kumar in the afternoon said that Friday’s exams were held smoothly and peacefully. Education minister Nurul Islam Nahid said exams are going on smoothly across the country. ‘No untoward incident was reported.’ He made the comment while visiting Dhaka’s Azimpur Government Girls School and College centre. About 14.79 lakh candidates were supposed to take the exams. But 7,277 students were absent from the Bangla first paper test on Friday, said the education ministry’s control room, adding that 19 students and three teachers were expelled for adopting unfair means in the exam. A total of 6,778 and 7,723 students were absent on the first day of SSC exam in 2014 and 2013 respectively, the control room added. Public examinations have been hit hard by political unrest in the past as well. In 2013, HSC exams were rescheduled for six days, SSC and JSC exams for five days each and primary exams for three days. In 2014 JSC exams were rescheduled for two days. HSC examinations were deferred for two days in 2005, for hartal enforced by the then opposition Awami League. Earlier in 1996, government deferred SSC exams for two weeks, when the then opposition Awami League took to the streets demanding caretaker government and HSC exams were shifted to June 30 from scheduled June 6, due to political turmoil and general elections. Meanwhile, New Age correspondent in Sirajganj, referring to the local administration, reported that a fire originated from either a candle or a mosquito coil at the office room of Dhangara Dakhil Madrasah centre under Royganj in Sirajganj and burnt 141 blank answer sheets. The Royganj upazila nirbahi officer Firoz Shah said that a two-member committee led by additional deputy commissioner Anwar Pasha was formed to probe the incident.

Source: New Age