Extra expenses which will be incurred through security arrangements have greatly troubled the officials conducting the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) board examination, slated for March 27. The Controller of Examination needs more funds for security, but the finance ministry is in no mood of releasing extra funds, Rs 20 lakhs of which is expected to be spent on security expenses alone. Because a hefty Rs 5 crore out of Rs 9 crores is spent in salaries and regular expenditure, the board has even resorted to overdraft and is now left with few other sources to turn to. The SLC examination is a mammoth exercise, and no less important is its scope and expanse. The sheer logistics involved in it, besides the mobilisation of manpower, question papers and answer sheets, makes it an expensive one too. For example, there are some 946 exam centres spread across the country, each of which will have to be provided a security blanket. Then there are some 3,02,950 students who will appear for the exams. The government, which conducts the SLC exams under the education ministry, should therefore make the funds available without making a fuss about the whole business.

Because the SLC board exam is one of the most important exams of a student’s academic career, there should, in theory, be no hurdles whatsoever stopping its smooth running, least of which is paucity of funds. Consider this. The government has all the resources for costly gatherings, sterile meetings and conferences, botched projects and money for unscrupulous administrative staff to misuse. It is unfortunate that the board of one of the most important exams in the nation’s academic calendar is forced to air its predicament through the media. Several educational enterprises have achieved virtually nothing even after spending huge financial resources. If the first phase of the basic and primary education project failed to reach its goal, the second phase had a problem utilising the allotted resources. The Higher Secondary Education Board was involved in embezzlement worth millions of rupees. The non-formal education section has its own woes, not to mention the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training. With all that in the background, the Controller of Examination of all the people has been cash strapped to conduct SLC exam, which, by all accounts reflects that all is not well with the Ministry of Education. The government must leave no stone unturned to meet the genuine exam expenses, though the SLC exam should not be made a shield for anybody to indulge in irregularities. It is for the state to see to it that the funds are used properly. The students must not be made a victim of the department’s shortcomings.