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Enjoying the company of pets was one of the ways in which students of grades 10 and 12 at The Indian High Group of Schools destressed ahead of their CBSE board exams. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai : Grade 10 and 12 students at The Indian High School here, under the Indian curriculum Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), were in for a treat just ahead of their public examination on April 26. Under the school’s wellbeing initiative called ‘SOUL’ (Serenity Optimises Ur Learning), certain activities were organised for the 12th graders to relieve the stress ahead of their examinations.

Punit M.K. Vasu, the chief executive officer of The Indian High Group of Schools, added: “It has been a year of tumult and sharp turns and many firsts from CBSE. On April 26, more than 1,250 students of grades 10 and 12 at The Indian High Group of Schools are taking the CBSE Term 2 board exams and will be the largest cohort of students across the UAE appearing for their board examinations.”

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Indian High School students leave for their exam centre. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News
Punit Vasu

“The support at The Indian High Group of Schools comes in many different shapes, sizes and artistic forms under the wellbeing initiative. We have created an extended family at the school comprising educators, counsellors, leaders and management experts to help promote a culture of serenity in nurturing students and supporting their wellbeing. Our aim is to help students manage exam anxiety, especially during the last hours between arrival at the school campus and entering the exam centre. In addition to having counsellors on our dedicated helpline, we have planned creative ways to promote wellbeing among our learners that will boost positivity and self-confidence,” Vasu added.

Staff members at the Indian High Group of Schools consulted students on what helped them cope better with the stress of exams. Some students said that being amongst pets helped relieve stress. Others said that activities such as painting, engaging in sports, meditation and breathing exercises helpd them destress.”

Students were also privy to counselling from community leaders.

Hafsa Ahmed Mukati

Hafsa Ahmed Mukati, a Commerce student, said: “I was uncertain about my academic progress during the pandemic. I was anxious and worried too, but the meticulous instructional plans, the supportive school environment and counselling helped me overcome my fears. I am not worried today because ‘I CAN’ is my mantra for success and ‘SOUL’ has given me a major boost. I can now feel the anxiety ebbing away.”

Pet therapy

The calming effect of petting a friendly animal is well-established and the school arranged for pets on campus. Students had the chance to pet rabbits, kittens, tortoise, hamsters, white mouse, love birds, green parrots and dogs.

Adithya Gopinath

Adithya Gopinath, another student from the Commerce stream, said: “I remember my struggles in the senior secondary section. I remember when my teachers said that results don’t define us because we have the freedom to design our destiny. This institution has taught me to give my best. And here I am today — confident to face my future and humbled at the sacrifices made by my teachers and parents. Thank you IHS. The ‘SOUL’ programme is fantastic and has put me so much at ease!”

Mindfulness and breathing exercises increase oxygen levels to the brain that is scientifically proven to soothe nerves. Students had the chance to destress to prepare for the exams.

Student Aparna Arun said: “My teachers have always encouraged me to develop academic responsibility and to set attainable daily goals. I feel confident today that I would achieve stunning results. Thank you IHS for guiding me till this point and for being the beacon of light of knowledge ... and the wellbeing initiatives today have brightened my day and filled my heart and soul with confidence.”

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Students spend time with white rats as a means to keep stress away, just before heading to their board exams. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sports therapy

Students had the chance to play football, basketball, cricket or toss the ball over the net for volleyball as they chose to relieve their stress with some sports therapy ahead of their exams.

Maheshwar Vinod

Student Maheshwar Vinod said: “I feel proud and confident to run in the final lap of my academic race of the school phase. Yes, I have gained this momentum from this great institution. Thank you, my teachers! I am grateful to my parents. Thank you IHS for making me what I am today and the ‘Sports Therapy’ will be my winning sixer!”

Art therapy

Art is known to be very much therapeutic and some students opted for brush strokes to relieve the tension heading towards their board exams.

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Vasu said students taking the CBSE grade 10 and 12 exams have access to the school’s dedicated Student Wellbeing 24 Hour Helpline. “If students feel overwhelmed or are finding it difficult to cope with the stress around exam time, we make sure to render every possible support. The student counselling team offers a 24-hour helpline that can be accessed on all working days till the examinations conclude.”