Conducting the grade 11 and 12 board examinations appears to be a tough task for the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB) as a number of HS school buildings which are to be used as exam centres have received red stickers from engineers.
Inspection teams from three District Education Offices in the Valley have found that at least 30 school buildings, including 14 in Kathmandu, cannot be used as exam centres. The HSEB has set up centres in around 150 schools in the Valley.
Moreover, there is a growing voice that safety of students should not be compromised. Students have demanded exam postponement until life returns to normalcy. They have also been claiming that many students are still in trauma and therefore not in a condition to take their tests.
“The examinations determine our career. But sitting for the tests at this point of trauma means we won’t perform well,” said Bhim Bhandari, an 11th grader at Columbus School, Baneshwor.
The HSEB, however, has a different say. Vice-chairman Chaitanya Sharma said the academic calendar will be affected unless the tests are conducted within a month. The HSEB would not hold examinations in risky buildings and try its best to arrange halls on the ground floor.
Sharma said the buildings marked red would be substituted after final inspection. “Our teams are in the field monitoring the status of the centres,’’ he said, adding that they will arrange for alternative venues within three days.
The exams that were postponed after the April 25 earthquake will now be held from the first week of June, except for Rasuwa, Kavre, Sindhupalchok, Dhading, Nuwakot, Dolakha and Gorkha. The examinations in the seven hardest-hit districts will be conducted later.
A total of 897,170 students from 3,400 schools are taking the tests. Among them, 46,719 students are from the seven districts.
According to the Ministry of Education, 16,475 classrooms of 6,902 public schools have been destroyed by the earthquakes.
While 1,100 private schools suffered damage, 165 of their buildings have received red stickers, meaning that they are unsafe for use. According to the ministry, 7,266 classrooms have got major cracks while 12,613 sustained minor damage. In addition 1,436 toilets were destroyed.