HS examinee Syed Adil Hassan studies outside Vidyasagar Bhavan while waiting for his admit card. Picture by Amit Datta
Hundreds of Higher Secondary examinees queued up at Vidyasagar Bhavan in Salt Lake until late on Tuesday to collect their admit cards, losing precious study time on the eve of an exam that will determine their career path.
Their crime? They had missed a deadline many of them didn’t know existed.
Some of the students, including more than 10 from Rejinagar in Murshidabad, 165km away, were worried they wouldn’t be able to return in time for the first paper on Wednesday.
Before coming to the city, they weren’t even sure they would be allowed to sit for the exam because none of them had submitted their filled-in examination forms according to schedule.
The council had clamped a deadline this year — January 9 — but many schools allegedly didn’t communicate it to the students.
Some council officials blamed chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s last-minute instruction to issue admit cards to those who hadn’t submitted their examination forms by January 9 for the chaos on exam-eve. “The chief minister’s instruction came on Monday evening,” a senior official of the council said.
Chief minister Mamata had wanted the job done on a “war-footing”, according to officials, but the council took until Tuesday evening to get started.
The students had started arriving hours earlier. They had to fill in forms in makeshift camps and wait for their call.
One council official said at least 1,000 students turned up, primarily from the districts neighbouring Calcutta. There were queues for admit cards in the five council offices elsewhere in the state too.
Outside the HS council office at Vidyasagar Bhavan, some students had their noses buried in books even as they stood in line around 10pm.
“I have been in the queue since evening. The council officials told us that admit cards would be issued around 7.30pm. Now it’s 10pm already and I don’t know whether I will be able to return home and write the exam on Wednesday” said Yasmin Tara Khatun, from Dadpur village in Rejinagar.
Syed Adil Hassan, a student of SVS Vidyalaya on MG Road in central Calcutta, was among those still in the queue at 10.30pm. “I have been here since 6pm but am yet to get my admit card. Every time I have approached a council official, I have been asked to hang around,” Adil said.
Some parents accompanying their children to Vidyasagar Bhavan erupted in anger over the chaos. “I don’t know how our children will write their exam if they remain preoccupied with collecting admit cards hours before the commencement of the first paper. The council should have handled this better,” said Hamida Hassan, Adil’s mother.
Another parent criticised the council for failing to inform the candidates about the “special arrangements” in advance. “Ideally, the council should have held a news conference on Monday evening. Many students were in the dark about the admit-card distribution and arrived late.”
Council president Chatterjee declined to comment on the chaos. “All I can say is that the admit cards will be distributed by tonight,” he told Metro.