| MARK TIME: At the Calcutta Information Centre, where Madhyamik 2003 examinees and guardians flocked for the results after the Net debacle, a solitary Sunday staffer (left) took a slip bearing the candidate’s name and roll number, went inside and returned a while later with the marks. Picture by Pabitra Das
“This page cannot be displayed…. The results will be out soon.”
Bengal’s attempts at doing a Delhi by taking the www route to the dissemination of examination results fell flat on Sunday, forcing thousands of students to wait till Monday morning to find out their results the old-fashioned way — marksheets pasted on the school notice-board, instead of posted on the Net.
Sunday was the day of reckoning for Madhyamik 2003 examinees, assured by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education that the technological tools were in place for results to be just a click away, a la the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination.
To put it simply, Madhyamik failed the tech test and by late afternoon, it was back to man over machine, paper chits over cyber clicks. With a no-show at cyber cafes around town, anxious students and guardians started descending on good ol’ Calcutta Information Centre, where aggregates scribbled on scraps of paper decided the fate of the examinees.
By the end of the day, the results had come rushing on the Net, but Board officials were left expressing their “disappointment” over the cyber-space jam and sympathising with the students. The Board had made arrangements to post the results on two government sites: www.tathyabangla.org and www.wbgov.com. But, unlike the Delhi-based Boards, which float the results at midnight, the Madhyamik officials chose to do the same around 9 am on Sunday, peak time for Netizens waiting for the first flash of results.
The result was predictable. Till 11 am, at least the home page of www.tathyabangla.org was visible, while the other site remained completely elusive. Soon after, even the www.tathyabangla.org home page started blinking, flashing the nightmare message for Netizens: “This page cannot be displayed.”
Officials later admitted that the two sites could not handle the pressure. With thousands of dedicated Madhyamik-search users joining the usual heavy Sunday-morning traffic on the Internet highway, both routes clogged up and refused to open till early in the evening.
Saurav Roy, owner of a Salt Lake-based cyber café, had to turn away hundreds of boys, girls and guardians, who kept trooping in through the day convinced that the results were at their fingertips. “The confusion of how to see the results and when was cruel on the students,” said Roy.
An almost-similar experience awaited those choosing the SMS route to their results. “The Madhyamik results will be out soon,” was what countless mobile phones continued to say on Sunday afternoon. “There are so many hits all taking place at the same time. I tried the SMS route from my own mobile and I have to say that the process is getting a little delayed,” said Hutch chief operating officer Sunil Sood.
Ultimately, all result-roads started leading to the Calcutta Information Centre, which had been provided with a “disc” containing the aggregates by the Board and a few Sunday staffers to cope with the rush. One of them would come out, take one slip containing a candidate’s roll number back into a room and then emerge with the marks. One at a time, terribly tedious, but at least effective.
Board secretary A.C. Patra said in the evening that he had received several complaints about the delay. “We will have to investigate the reasons, as we had given the websites enough time to post the results,” asserted Patra.