Why they shouldn't have messed with SSC
The Secondary School Certificate exams of 2015 was scheduled to be held from February 2nd to March 16th, followed by the Higher Secondary Certificate exams in April. The former of these two hasn't turned out the way it was supposed to, with the latter being under serious threat of achieving the same fate. We all know the reason behind this. Political violence has raised its ugly head once again and the outcome is usual: the ones who want no part of it losing out the most. I'm an SSC examinee and I'm fed up.
Anyone would be, considering what we're being put through. The students were given a pretty comfortable schedule at first, with enough time to prepare for each subject within a reasonably compact time span. Most students prepare for exams looking at the schedule. For example, if you get three days off before Chemistry and only a day before Bangla, you would try to focus more on Bangla before the exams begin, thinking you have ample time to cover Chemistry. But all these plans become obsolete when politicians do what they do best, make things difficult for the public.
Dr. Begum Hosne Ara, whose son is sitting for the exams this year, is concerned. “I've seen my son prepare to the best of his ability and as a mother, I feel the worst that could happen is that he wouldn't be rewarded for it, for reasons that are avoidable,” she says.
This year, SSC began after an initial delay of 4 days, and since then, not one exam has taken place on time. Exams are being held on weekends, which is not ideal. Firstly because it's delaying the end of SSC, which in effect, delays every other public exam in the calendar year. The Education Minister has said that the exams will be over by March leaving the path clear for HSC to begin from April, as scheduled. Even if it did, it'd still mean that SSC results will come out later than it should, delaying admission into Class XI for a majority of the one and a half million students who'll pass. And if HSC was indeed delayed, that would mean a delay in public university admission later in the year, further aggravating a problem known in our country as 'session jot'.
People think that with exams held on weekends, with five weekdays between them, students get excessive time to prepare. But it's not as simple as that. As mentioned before, students prepare themselves beforehand with the schedule in mind. When an exam is delayed, it disrupts their plans. In reality, they aren't notified of the changes made to the time table until a time that is too late. The political parties have been announcing their activities in phases, instead of all at once. So, when a three-day strike (Sunday to Tuesday) is announced on Saturday and the exams scheduled on those dates are moved to the weekend, students are left dealing with the daunting possibility of facing four exams in four days, from a Thursday of one week to the Sunday of the next. Of course, if one predicted that the strikes would be extended until Thursday and then resumed from next week, and prepared accordingly, they'd have made a good decision, but it'd still be a risk.
SSC is a huge deal for most students and they're largely affected by fear of failure. Srijon Roy, an examinee from the Rajshahi Board, feels hard done by what he has had to endure, “I'm not sure what to study and when to study, and having to sit for back to back exams on Fridays and Saturdays is not helping my problems with preparation. Ideally, you want a good night's sleep before a crucial exam. But I'm losing sleep because exams are being cancelled and retaken at unexpected times, which is killing my health as well as my confidence.”
For students in the NCTB curriculum, SSC results have a big hand in what they can achieve later on in life. Most students switch schools at Class XI and admission into a good institution depends on how you do in your SSC. There's an allotment of points in public university and medical college admission tests for SSC grades, and faltering even in one subject could harm one's chances of pursuing their goals. Bearing that in mind, it's a disgrace from the part of those responsible that SSC has been under sabotage from the beginning.