Around 15 lakh students will appear for the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) examinations that will commence from March 28 across the state.

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All 1,625 examination centres have been equipped with CCTV cameras to prevent irregularities during the exams that are being conducted after a year’s gap. The state education board did not conduct the examinations in the academic year 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

On Monday, Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani chaired a video-conference with senior officials of district administrations to review the preparations. To reduce the anxiety of the students, the share of objective questions in the examinations has been increased from 20 per cent to 30 per cent this year, said the minister.

He also instructed the district administration officials to make arrangements for timely availability of buses for students from interior areas of the state to reach the examination centres. Further, he asked them to ensure the students arrive at their respective centres on time.

The minister, in an official release, stated that 9.64 lakh students will appear for Class 10 exams across 958 centres. While 1.08 lakh candidates in Class 12 science stream will take their exams at 140 centres, 4.25 lakh students from Class 12 general stream will appear for the examination at 527 centers.

Thus, a total of 14.98 lakh students will appear for the board examinations in classrooms after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assuring compliance of standard operating procedure guidelines, the education minister said it is important that candidates remain stress-free and fearless. The state government has also planned to expand the use of the “Jeevan Astha” helpline implemented by the police to keep students and their parents stress-free.

Vaghani said the state government has made all necessary arrangements to enable a safe environment for the students at the examination centres.

“Adequate arrangements have been made for the peaceful conduct of examinations at sensitive examination centres in the state. A person who commits any irregularity in the examination will be severely punished. The accreditation of the examination centre will be revoked and also a fine will be imposed if any centre is found involved in any malpractice,” Vaghani stated in an official release.

Not sparing those spreading “paperleak” rumours, the minister said, “Strict action will be taken against false rumours of paper leak at the examination centres. All the 1,625 examination centres are equipped with CCTVs to prevent irregularities.”