CHENNAI: S Sonali’s* joy knew no bounds. She had been worried the previous night as she had to write her most dreaded paper on Wednesday. Mathematics was a word that sent shivers down her spine and when she walked out of the examination hall knowing that her paper went well, she was overwhelmed. She immediately called her mother and conveyed the good news. Her mother too was ecstatic as she had been on edge the entire morning. Sonali got home and had her favourite dish for lunch to celebrate the Board exams ending on a high.
She was content till news flashed of the Central Board of Secondary Education deciding to re-conduct two examinations - Economics for class XII and Mathematics for Class X, following allegations of a question paper leak.
“I broke down,” she said amidst sobs on the phone. “It was like my world came crashing down in that moment. I felt numb. I was so nervous ahead of the exam. I almost vomited at night. Maths has never been an easy subject for me and the thought of writing the paper again is frightening. I’m so worried that the paper will be tougher. I’m just praying that we don’t have to write it again.”
Another class X student L Annapoorani concurred with Sonali. She, too, said she was ‘stressed’ that the paper will be tougher. “Only at around 1.30 pm, we came back from Kendriya Vidyalaya in Sulur, which is the examination centre to our school and heard that the CBSE has decided to re-conduct the Mathematics examination,” she said. “The Math exam was the last examination for class X students. The question paper was easy. But, now me and my friends fear that the board would set a tougher re-examination paper to punish the gang of people who leaked the question paper.”
Annapoorani added that she was so busy preparing for the examination that she had switched off the internet and stopped going on social media platforms so she was not aware of the question paper leak.
“I thought it was a joke,” said Kajal Vale, a class 12 student of Asan Memorial School. “I just could not believe that this was happening when I saw the news. My first reaction was that I cannot go on my holiday which I have been looking forward to since December! Then the panic set in about how the paper could be more difficult this time around. I am just relieved that I do not have to write the Math paper again though.” Even students who are good at Math are anxious. There is also the fact that many were happy to get over with the Board exams.
“I do like Maths but I do not want to do my exam again,” said Riti Shah, a class 10 student. “No one wants to do their exams again. And now we won’t even feel like studying! Our family was to shift to Hyderabad in April because my dad was being posted there but now everything will have to be postponed.”
The CBSE has said the dates for fresh examinations and the other details will be hosted on the CBSE website within a week. Till then, students said everything would be at a standstill.
“I was in shock,” said Suman Agarwal,* another class 12 student at a residential school in the city. “I cannot express what I felt in that moment. It is unfair and unjust to make students who are honest and hardworking to re-do a paper because someone has leaked the paper. I was looking forward to going out with friends to celebrate but now I don’t know what to do. The date of the examination is not out either and we are all in a fix.”
(*Names changed on request)