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Poll pain on ISC nerves

Mizoram put the April 11 ISC history exam in doubt throughout Tuesday but a forgotten fact — that the northeastern state where polls have been deferred to Friday doesn’t have any school affiliated to the board — put anxiety to rest.

Polls in Mizoram for its lone Lok Sabha seat and the Hrangturzo Assembly bypoll were rescheduled from Wednesday to Friday because of a three-day shutdown, starting Monday, called by a clutch of organisations in the state. Though the shutdown was called off on Tuesday, the Election Commission stuck to the revised schedule since poll preparations slowed down the previous day.

The revised poll date clashed with the ISC history exam, which was already rescheduled once from April 7 to April 11 because of the general election.

The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations and candidates across the country tracked news from Mizoram through the day until a little-known fact emerged. “We do not need to revise the (exam) date because there are no ISC schools in Mizoram,” said Gerry Arathoon, the secretary and chief executive of the CISCE.

Till the CISCE announcement was made, students called each other and exchanged messages over WhatsApp and other social networks to find out whether there was any change in the exam schedule.

“We were praying for the exam to be held as scheduled. We began our ISC on February 21… it’s been a long haul and exam fatigue is setting in now. We just want to get over it,” said Urvi Khaitan, a student of Modern High School for Girls.

Almost all the ISC schools in Calcutta have history examinees. La Martiniere (girls and boys) has 41 students, Modern High School for Girls has 33, while Calcutta Girls’ High School and The Heritage School have around 50 and 11, respectively.

Some of the students have a gap of almost 20 days in between their last two papers. Many of them wrote their political science paper on March 21 and now waiting for history, which is turning out to be test of nerves for reasons unrelated to the syllabus.

Teachers empathised with students. “Postponing exams is cruel on the students and causes more frustration. A reasonable gap gives every body an idea to plan their studies but an unplanned gap can prove stressful,” said Sunirmal Chakravarthi, the principal of La Martiniere for Boys.

Urvi’s mother Kasturi was afraid that the family might have to reschedule a holiday they had planned immediately after the exam. “Since afternoon I was checking news on TV and my daughter was doing it online. I was tense and called the school, too,” she said.

Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School, said unscheduled changes should be avoided as much as possible because students lose concentration.