This year’s Secondary Education Examination (SEE), scheduled to begin on Thursday, has been postponed until further notice amidst fear of coronavirus risks. According to the national Examination Board (NEB), a total of 482,707 students were scheduled to appear in the examination. Of them, 239,091 were boys while the remaining 243,616 girls. There were 466,100 examinees under the regular category while 16,714 were taking the examination to upgrade their ranking. About 7,000 more students were to attend the examination this year as compared to last year. In terms of the number of examinees, the Bagmati State was ahead of others with a total of 103,736 students while the Karnali State has the lowest number (36,714). This is the 87th edition of the SEE (previously known as School Leaving Certificate (SLC). The NEB had arranged altogether 1,995 examination centres nationwide. The government decided to postpone the vital examination over the fear of possible transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The deadly virus has claimed thousands of lives throughout the world. Declared as a global pandemic, the virus has infected more than 180,000 people in at least 140 countries worldwide.
Though no one has so far been infected with the virus in Nepal, there are always possible risks involved when a large number of students gather under one roof to attend the exams. In a notice issued after a meeting of High Level Committee on Prevention and Control of COVID-19 headed by Deputy Prime Minister Ishwor Pokharel Wednesday took the decision to this effect. However, the government is yet to announce the new schedule of the exams. Earlier, Minister for Education, Science and Technology Giriraj Mani Pokharel had announced to hold the SEE exams as per the schedule. He had called on the guardians and other stakeholders not to create crowds in and around examination centres for preventing the risk of coronavirus infection and holding the examination in a dignified and peaceful manner.
It may be recalled here that the ministry had already asked all the 753 local levels to set up health desks with special attention given to the SEE examinees. The decision of conducting the examinations were taken amidst the coronavirus fear but the government took the decision, giving utmost priority to the public health concerns. The government must have taken this decision in response to the concerns expressed from different quarters to reschedule the exams as there was increasing trepidation of the spread of the deadly virus.
It is, however, natural for one and all to have a feel of worries as the COVID-19 has continued to spread to more countries. In this situation there should be no dearth of protective materials like masks and hand sanitisers which help to prevent infection to a large extent. The government needs to take necessary measures to control possible virus spread. Schools across the country have already conducted final examinations involving as many as 7,000,000 students. Parents and guardians should discourage them to stay indoors during this sensitive period.