Abu Dhabi: While schools across the UAE remain closed, high school students enrolled in the Kerala State Board are back at school premises this week, completing their final board exams.
A total of 1,584 students are appearing for their final exams, which kicked off on Tuesday, May 26, and are set to continue until Saturday, May 31. Nine centres in the country are hosting the exams for students, with temperature checks, social distancing and masks and gloves becoming the new norm.
The exams were previously suspended on March 23, after the UAE closed schools as a precautionary measure against coronavirus. The Kerala government had also postponed the exams till June, as India extended its lockdown till May 31. However, last week the Kerala state government reversed the decision and announced that the exams will be conducted from May 26 onwards.
“Students has already completed six papers each for Grades 10, 11 and 12 in March. The remainder of the exams are being conducted now amidst the utmost safety precautions, and we hope that this will help settle children’s future educational plans, especially Grade 12 students leaving school,” Dr VV Abdulkader, prinicipal at The Model School Abu Dhabi, told Gulf News.
The school, one of the largest exam centres for the Kerala State Board in the UAE, has 84 Grade 12 students appearing for the Department of Higher Secondary Education (DHSE) +2 exams, and 87 students in Grade 11 appearing for the DHSE +1 exams. There are also 163 students in Grade 10 sitting for the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams.
Assessments are being conducted under all directives issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek), Dr Abdulkader said.
This includes two-metre distancing between students at all time, as well as disinfection of all exam halls before and after students leave.
Each exam hall also has a maximum of 10 attendees.
Checks and hygiene
When students and invigilators arrive, temperatures are checked every day.
“All invigilators and students also wear gloves and masks, with students only allowed to remove the gloves as they write. Still, they are encouraged to continue sanitising their hands with sanitiser. In addition, each student must bring in their own stationery, and no sharing is permitted,” the principal said.
Gathering is also not permitted, so when students arrive, they wait in a shaded outdoor space while maintaining adequate distance. And soon after the assessment is over, parents must collect their wards.
Dr Abdulkader said six virtual meetings and counselling sessions had also been conducted for the students ahead of the rescheduled exams.
“There are three Grade 10 students at our school who have contracted the coronavirus. Once the results for other students is published, these three students will be able to attend the Save A Year exam in later June or early July, thus ensuring that they don’t fall behind,” he explained.
He added that conducting these public exams online would not have been possible, and that the school is therefore taking the highest precautions to protect all students.
A total of 1.4 million students worldwide are appearing for this year’s Kerala State Board exams.