After as many as 142 of the 256 class IX students failed even after reappearing in their exam, their angry parents held a noisy protest at the Government Senior Secondary School at Dhanas on Friday.
They occupied the corridor in front of the principal’s office and demanded that the students should be promoted to the next class. They argued that there was something wrong with the school if so many students failed after studying for a year.
As the situation seemed to be getting out of hand, the police had to be called, but it did not have to intervene, thanks to some tactful handling by vice-principal Seema who dealt with the situation in the absence of principal Harneet Kaur.
The parents said so many students had failed for the first time. Teachers, who did not want to be named, blamed it on certain changes made in the assessment system this year. They also said many of the children worked after school. Most students in the school come from economically weaker sections of society.
Earlier, the students were assessed on the basis of their performance in the final exam. But now, the performance in two unit tests and two summative assessments was also taken into account, explained a teacher.
One of the science teachers said, “After the students failed in the final exam in March, we gave them extra classes in all subjects, but still the results were the same.”
Kamaljeet, a representative of CPI (ML) who was present at the school, said Dhanas was not the only school where so many students had failed. “At Government High School, Sector 30, only 30 students of 133 have cleared the exam in class IX while at Government School, Sector 26, only two students have passed out of 150,’’ he said.
“This shows that it’s not the students who are at fault. We need to take up this issue with the DPI(Schools),” he said.
On this, the parents called off their protest and agreed to meet the DPI(Schools).
The students complained that the school did not have sufficient teachers. Officials said the student-teacher ratio in the schools on Chandigarh’s periphery was 75:1, against 35:1 prescribed in the Right to Education Act.
When contacted, DPI(S) Kamlesh Kumar admitted that there was a shortage of 1,100 teachers in Chandigarh, but the Ministry of Human Resource Development had now sanctioned the posts.