At least 375 Madhyamik candidates who had been barred from writing the exams for being unregistered, a decision upheld by the high court, were given admit cards on Sunday.
Madhyamik starts on Monday.
The students were among the 410 who had moved the high court seeking an order to the secondary education board to issue them admit cards. The court on Friday rejected the plea after the board submitted that the students were unregistered candidates.
The students had attended classes in a dozen schools in and around the city but tried to appear for the board exams from Kankinara Adarsha High School, in North 24-Parganas.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday asked the board to issue admit cards to the 410 students as “a special case”. A board official said registration formalities of 375 students were completed at Nivedita Bhavan, the board headquarters in Salt Lake, before they were issued admit cards on Sunday.
Students and their parents and head teachers of the schools where they had attended classes started assembling outside the board headquarters from 7am.
At 8pm admit cards were still being issued.
The students said they could not have appeared for the exam from the schools where they had studied as the institutions were not affiliated to the board. Nineteen of the 410 students had studied at Picnic Garden Saraswati Sadan.
“I have been running the school (Saraswati Sadan) for 20 years and approached the Kankinara school to allow 19 of our candidates to write Madhyamik as its students. Last year, 32 students of our school took Madhyamik as candidates of the Kankinara institution,” said R.K. Anjana, the principal of the Chowbhaga Road school.
This year, he added, six of his students would appear in Madhyamik from a Dum Dum school.
With him was Sanjay Thakur, the principal of Sarkarpool United Children Academy near Taratala. “Our students have been writing Madhyamik from the Kankinara school for the past three years. This year there are six such students. We thank the chief minister for bailing them out,” said Thakur.
Among the other institutions used to taking the Kankinara route to Madhyamik are Green Park School on Elliot Road, St. Joseph in Garia and Sunrise Academy in Dankuni.
When asked why she chose Kankinara Adarsha High School, Rabia Khan, the headmistress of Green Park School, said: “They don’t ask questions and allow our candidates to write the exam as theirs.”
A member of the managing committee of the Kankinara school, a Hindi-medium institution, declined to comment on the statements made by Khan and others.
The headmaster could not be contacted.
In an attempt to stop the practice of students of unaffiliated schools writing Madhyamik from an affiliated institution, the board this year sent inspectors to the Kankinara school to ascertain the number of “eligible” Madhyamik candidates.
“Of the 883 students who wanted to appear in Madhyamik from the Kankinara school, 470 were found eligible. The rest were outsiders,” said a board official.
“The chief minister’s stand has dashed our hopes to clean up the system,” said a board official.
Education minister Bratya Basu’s comment, too, suggests that the clean-up is on hold. When asked if any action would be taken against the Kankinara school, Basu said on the sidelines of a programme at Presidency University on Sunday: “We don’t have any immediate plans Our immediate aim is to hold the exams peacefully.”