As many as 80 per cent of the 83,000 candidates wrote the state eligibility test (SET) on Sunday across 189 centres amid the omicron-fuelled surge in Covid cases.
Dipak Kar, chairman of the commission, said that of all the eligibility tests he conducted since taking over as chairman in 2014, the highest attendance was registered this time.
According to him, only a handful of candidates took the test from isolation facilities as their body temperature was recorded above 99.4 degree F.
“We will get the exact figure over the next few days. A large number of students took the test in strict adherence to the Covid protocol, leading to the best turnout ever,” said Kar.
A section of college teachers sought the test to be deferred given the steep rise in cases.
At institutes like St Xavier’s College, Scottish Church College and Jadavpur University, candidates were seated in a zigzag pattern with each bench accommodating a lone student so the physical distancing norm could be adequately maintained.
The examination was held in two slots — from 10.30am to 11.30am (Paper I) and from noon to 2pm (Paper II). Invigilators kept reminding the candidates that they must not remove the mask at any point of time.
Outside each room, portable sanitiser dispensers were placed.
Guardians who accompanied candidates were not allowed to enter the premises, said JU registrar Snehamanju Basu.
She said that 800 candidates wrote the test across 23 rooms. Altogether, 1,000 candidates were supposed to write the test at JU.
“We did not have to use the isolation facility,” said registrar Snehamanju Basu.
At St Xavier’s College, out of 250 candidates, 173 wrote the test in six rooms and two halls, said principal Father Dominic Savio.
Baishali Thakurta, a candidate who wrote the test at the college, said she reached the venue from Thakurpukur by bus.
Another candidate who wrote the test at Scottish Church College and came from Behala said that as Metro was not available early in the morning, she reached Tollygunge in an auto and from there took an app cab to the exam centre.
Madhumanajri Mandal, principal of Scottish Church College, said of the 192 candidates, 125 wrote the test in six rooms and nobody was required to write the test in an isolation room.
A principal said they suspected that some candidates had taken medicines like paracetamol so they did not have to write the tests in an isolation facility.
“The rear picture would have been different had the commission mandated that only candidates with a negative RT-PCR report would be allowed to write the test,” he said.
Commission chairman Kar said if any candidate showed any evidence to prove he/she could not write the test because of Covid, he or she would not be charged the registration fee of Rs 1,200 while writing the next SET examination, to be held in December.