Disaster-hit students in dilemma as Class X board examinations approach

Kathmandu, April 2

Ranjan Thakur, a Grade X student from Parsauni Rural Municipality in Bara, was harbouring dreams of becoming a successful person someday. The 15-year-old did not mention what “successful” meant, but as an “above average student” he had thought he could improve the living standard of his family in the future.

“These dreams have been shattered by the deadly storm that hit his village on Sunday,” said Thakur, a student of Sri Nepal Rastriya Secondary School. The storm not only reduced his house to rubble, but swept away his books.

“Without books how can I prepare for Secondary Education Examinations?” asked a devastated Thakur.

Still, Thakur intends to appear in the Grade X board exams from Friday. “Since I don’t have a proper shelter to live in and have very little food, I don’t know whether I will be able to score good grades,” he said.

Thakur is among thousands of Grade X students in disaster-hit Bara and Parsa districts, whose fate hangs in the balance, as they have to sit for SEE beginning Friday, days after a violent storm razed villages, killing at least 28.

The Office of Controller of Examinations under the National Examinations Board has said that exams cannot be rescheduled despite the devastating disaster, as preparations to hold them have been completed.

“But how can a student with a broken hand or someone who has just lost a house or is wondering what to eat next take exams?” asked Ameri Prasad Yadav, mayor of Pheta Rural Municipality, which suffered the most in the disaster. “They are simply not in a state to appear for exams.”

This is not the first time these students appearing for SEE have been let down by the authority.

On March 28, students of Province 2 had fallen victim to mismanagement of authorities after the Examination Controller Board cancelled SEE following leakage of question paper through social media. By the time the announcement of cancellation of exams was made, the students had taken examinations of three subjects.

The Office of Controller of Examinations yesterday decided to conduct exams of the remaining five subjects from April 5.

“Most of the exam centres in Bara and Parsa are intact and are in shape to conduct exams,” said Examination Controller Bishnu Prasad Adhikari. “If we postpone the exams, students of six other districts in the province, which have not been affected by the disaster, will suffer.”

A total of 7,949 students from Bara and 7,411 students from Parsa are appearing for SEE. Bara has 31 exam centres and Parsa 24.

“Exam centres may be intact, but are students from these districts mentally prepared to appear in those examinations?” asked Yadav.

Twenty students from Bharbaliya and Bhalahi have been admitted to a local hospital after suffering injuries in the disaster, according to Yadav. “When I went to see them today, they were asking me about the upcoming SEE,” said Yadav. “Ten to 15 students from Purainiya village also asked me the same question.” These three villages in Bara were worst hit by the storm where around 200 out of 300 houses had crumbled down.

“The condition here is so bad that students are not in a condition to sit for exams,” said Nirpu Gupta, a teacher at Bengasah Secondary School in Pausani Rural Municipality.