Amid testing times, many students hope to breeze through exams

Possibility of liberal evaluation leads to carefree attitude in some, anxiety among others

A section of SSLC and higher secondary school students seems to have been lulled into the belief that they will clear the upcoming examinations even without any preparation, thanks to potentially liberal evaluation in view of the uncertainty posed by the pandemic.

This was revealed during the counselling being offered by the Department of General Education. “A section of students definitely harbours such a mentality, going by our interactions with SSLC students, and it is based on what they believe was a highly liberal evaluation last year when the exams were held amidst the pandemic outbreak. Also, more number of students are reporting ill probably because of the mix of exam anxiety and weather conditions,” said Mahitha Vipinachandran, a psychosocial counsellor.

Counsellors associated with Souhrida Clubs functioning in higher secondary schools under the Career Guidance and Adolescent Counselling Cell (CGACC) of the General Education Department have also flagged the disturbing trend of misplaced confidence.

“The issue was raised even during the training sessions of Souhrida Club coordinators. While a small degree of anxiety about exams is considered good since that will motivate them to study, a completely anxiety-free state is disconcerting. We are now trying to overcome this challenge through the mentoring of students by our coordinators who also rope in parents as stakeholders,” said C.M. Azeem, State coordinator, CGACC.

The carefree attitude found reflection in the students’ participation in academic activities and attendance at schools. The condition that attendance is not mandatory and is subjected to the approval of parents is being exploited by this section to stay away from schools.

For the studious among the student community, the prevailing pandemic situation, however, presents anxiety of a different kind. “They haven’t received the kind of coaching for cracking entrance exams and fear that it may hamper their prospects for higher studies,” said Mr. Azeem. They also seem equally concerned about a potential situation where a large number of students end up with higher marks as they expect liberally set question papers, which they fear, may damage their prospects further.

Meanwhile, the General Education Department has activated district and school-level counselling for psychological issues and support system for clearing doubts about various academic subjects by publicising contact numbers of faculty members.

“Everything is set for the State-level helpline organised annually ahead of SSLC and higher secondary exams. Telephone lines are ready and so are counsellors. Unlike in the past, we were able to train the entire lot of 1,680 Souhrida coordinators across all higher secondary schools this time, thanks to the virtual sessions. The helpline will be activated once the exam schedules are confirmed,” said Mr. Azeem.

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