PSC seeks Kerala govt.’s nod to restart exams from July

The panel had postponed all examinations, interviews, and certificate verification processes since April

The Kerala Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to seek the sanction of the State government to restart examinations for various posts from July onwards.

A letter seeking support of the various departments to organise the examinations during the pandemic is expected to be sent to the government on Monday. The PSC had postponed all examinations, interviews, and certificate verification processes since April.

According to PSC officials, a programme for the month of July has already been drawn up, with priority for examinations with a lesser number of candidates. Another challenge is to reschedule the examinations that were earlier postponed.

“Some examinations, for instance the ones for degree level, may have lakhs of candidates appearing. This would require several examination centres to accommodate candidates by maintaining adequate physical distancing. Facilities have to be arranged in schools and colleges. The Education Department has to spare enough teachers for invigilation. The Health Department has to provide assistance to carry out COVID-19-related checks and to make separate arrangements for those who have tested positive. Also, not all of the examinations that were postponed can be accommodated in July,” a PSC official told The Hindu.

Organising online examinations during the pandemic is also quite a task for the PSC. Across all its centres, only 1,800 computer systems are available with the PSC to organise online examinations. At its headquarters in the capital, there are 210 machines. In case a COVID-19 patient comes to write an examination, a separate room has to be provided.

Currently, the PSC is looking at setting up alternate facilities for COVID-19 patients. Facilities in engineering colleges and other institutions are also used usually to accommodate more candidates. Some of the online examinations have been changed into OMR examinations to avoid delays.

The commission’s functioning is expected to be back in full swing soon with the redeployment of staff to streamline current work from home arrangements. Though the PSC has implemented work from home partially for its employees, none of the examination-related activities, which constitute a majority of the commission’s work, cannot be done that way due to the element of secrecy involved in it.

The PSC has decided to redeploy exempted categories, including physically challenged employees and parents of mentally challenged children, to sections where work from home is possible. Internal transfers as part of this are currently being done.

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