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Exam fee waiver for camp inmates

Two students head for school from a relief camp at Kokrajhar. File picture

Guwahati, Oct. 18: Dispur has asked the Board of Secondary Education, Assam, (Seba) and Assam Higher Secondary Education Council (AHSEC) to waive the examination fees of candidates living in relief camps in the riot-hit districts, who will be appearing for the matric and higher secondary final examinations in 2013.

Sources in the education department said Gauhati University has been requested to do the same for the degree students living in camps in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Dhubri districts.

While Seba conducts the matric exams, the higher secondary or Plus II final exams are held under the supervision of AHSEC.

“A significant number of students currently staying in relief camps in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) are not at all in a position to pay fees to fill up forms to appear in the matric and higher secondary exams scheduled to be held in February next year. Parents of these students have lost their livelihood in the violence that broke out in the BTAD in July,” the source said.

An official said the government had taken up the matter seriously and decided to reimburse the fees of students living in relief camps in the BTAD to Seba and AHSEC from its own coffers. It has asked both the board and the council to chalk out an effective mechanism to prepare a list of genuine candidates in relief camps for waiving of their fees.

“The government has strictly asked Seba and AHSEC to monitor that fees are charged from those candidates in the BTAD who are not staying in relief camps. If the fees of all the candidates in the BTAD are waived, Seba and AHSEC’s budget for conducting exams will go for a toss. The only source of funds for the examination boards to conduct the tests annually is fees charged from students,” the official said.

Each candidate in the state has to pay around Rs 1,000 to appear for the matric and higher secondary exams.

AHSEC chairman Mohsin Ali said the council would take the help of education department officials in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Baksa districts to get the lists of names of students living in relief camps. He said the list of candidates must be certified by competent authorities like inspectors of schools so that only genuine students get the fee exemption.

Sources said Seba is following the same procedures as the council. “Gauhati University has not yet decided on the issue. The matter is expected to be placed before the executive council, the highest decision-making body of the university soon for consideration,” a source said.