In a relief to students, the state government has changed the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam timetable so as to give them a break between three papers - science II, historycivics and geography-economics -that were scheduled from March 20 to 22.

According to the new timetable, which was issued by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), the science II paper will now be held on March 20, history-civics on March 22 and geography-economics on March 25. The change in timetable means that the papers scheduled after geography-economics will now be pushed ahead and hence, the exam, which was to conclude on March 29, will go on till April 1.

The MSBSHSE after announcing the timetable on October 29 had given 15 days for feedback. During this period, several teacher's groups, local leaders and students raised concerns over the three papers, which were scheduled one after the other, without any break. They demanded at least a day's gap between the three papers.

"Considering the feedback, we decided to change the timetable. Class XII time table remains unchanged," said Krishnakumar Patil, secretary of the state board. The exam begins on March 7.

Teachers have welcomed the change in timetable."Three papers in a row would have been stressful for students. They must be given a day to revise and refresh their minds. It is, in fact, a practice that the board follows every year," said Anil Bornare, secretary of the junior college teacher's association.