Published: 18th June 2020
Hugs and High Fives: Social distancing goes for a toss as Karnataka holds PU exam for lakhs of students
Around 18,524 students residing in hostels, and children of migrant labourers and 1,889 students from neighbouring states have been allowed to change exam centres for their convenience
The Government of Karnataka kept up their promise of conducting PUC-2 English exam on June 18 — something that has been pending for more than two months due to the Corona pandemic. What is shocking is that while COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the state, there were no social distancing norms maintained as students were entering the exam hall. It seemed almost as if Thursday morning was like any usual day for the students and parents who went to different exam centres across Karnataka.
The crowding came as a shock to many people who are scared of the disease. Latifa Huwa, who is a resident of Bengaluru says, "We were shocked to watch students standing close to each other at APS PU College of Arts, Science and Commerce which is one of the exam centres located at NR Colony. The officials and teachers at the exam centre were not in the least bit bothered and did not tell them that they need to maintain social distancing. Children or youth face a greater threat of coming in contact with the virus. Once these exams are done, the government should undertake random testing of the students who attended the exams."
Another parent who went to drop her child at the exam centre even volunteered to tell students to maintain some distance. On the basis of anonymity, the parent explains, "The disease has become asymptomatic and students must be more careful. These students have met their friends after a long time so they were more excited to talk, hug each other or even exchange high fives. This incident took place at the Bishop Cotton Girls' School when I had to voluntarily step forward and asked them to stand at a distance from each other. Later, a few more parents came and cautioned their children. The person in charge of the exam centre was not bothered about it. Aside from this, we are worried about the large number of students in the exam hall. For instance, at one of the centres in Bengaluru, there were 30 students in each class and if the classroom is small in size, it is a worrisome factor"
Similar scenes were noticed even at some of the colleges in Mysuru and videos of this have gone viral. As many as 5.95 lakh students appeared for the pending PU English examination and a total of 1,016 examination centres have been set up across the state. As many as 18,524 students residing in hostels, and children of migrant labourers have been allowed to change exam centres for their convenience. Also, 1,889 students from neighbouring states have been permitted to write their exam in a border district of Karnataka.