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Tense, but brave, quake-hit students take board examinations Wednesday, May 2, 2001
Ahmedabad, May 2 - More than 4,000 students from the earthquake-ravaged areas of Kutch and around 55 from Gujarat's principal city Ahmedabad are these days writing the higher secondary certificate (HSC) and secondary school certificate (SSC) examinations organized specially for them.
Gujarat Secondary Education Board (GSEB) chairman P. V. Trivedi told IANS that after the quake, students of the two regions were not in a position to take the examinations last month. So the Gujarat government and various other organizations decided to hold supplementary examinations for students in the two regions.
"Now the HSC and SSC students are feeling comfortable as they got some time to catch up with their studies so badly disturbed in the wake of the quake. We saw some students were still tense, but that is the case with all examinations," Trivedi said Wednesday, the second day of the examinations.
A devastating quake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale hit Gujarat January 26, less than six weeks before the examinations that were scheduled in the first week of March. About 25,000 people were killed and tens of thousands left homeless in the temblor.
The state government postponed the examinations by two weeks, but further delayed the examination for the students of Kutch and Ahmedabad.
Students at the Government Girls' High School at Raikhad in the city seemed tense, but brave at the examinations. One of the students, Shreya Dikshit, who lost her father in quake, said her father had said she should never neglect her studies.
The center of all attraction, however, was Kuldeep Maniar, a cerebral palsy patient who was taking his HSC (general stream) exams. Kuldeep is writing the papers himself. He suffers 85 percent disability and moves around with a walker.
His mother, a biology teacher at the local C.N. Vidyalaya said Kuldeep's only disadvantage is that he writes a little slow. "Kuldeep is never able to finish his paper. He ends up not being able to write at least one and a half questions despite knowing the answer," says his mother, requesting the government to modify rules to help children trying to rise above their disabilities.
Trivedi said the board was looking for good results from the students. The quake-hit students had some psychological problems so the marking scheme would be a little liberal for them, he said.