The decks have been cleared for the School Leaving Certificate examination, which begins tomorrow. The finance ministry’s threat to bar students of the schools refusing to pay the education service tax from sitting for the exam, it now seems, was to keep up the heat on school operators. Even the callers of bandhs and strikes have recessed for the SLC. But the 16-hour daily brownouts that have interfered with the study schedules of the examinees have witnessed no let-up. These days, even private students can take SLC, and it is a good idea that those struggling for education who are unable to attend school regularly, because of other pressing concerns of life, mainly the rice-and-dal issue, can also have a go.
However, in recent years, the authorities, in their bid to make the pass percentages look respectable, have relaxed various requirements. The system of adding grace marks for more than one paper has sent up the pass rates even higher. Anyway, the SLC as the last hurdle for the school students is going to be over soon. Every year, the exam also brings up some interesting titbits. An examinee is making his or her nth attempt at the hurdle, grandpa and grandchild are both taking the exam together, some single-minded girl has dared take the exam two days after her delivery, or some girl becoming a mother in the exam hall itself. One will be regaled with many a choice morsel of information in the next few days, and those relating to cheating at the exams will hold centre stage.