SEVERAL students who excelled in PSEB’s Class 10 exam have failed to clear the entrance test for Punjab’s prestigious nine Meritorious Schools despite being given a second change. The first entrance test was held in June, and the second in August first week. In the second entrance exam, 1442 seats, which were left after first entrance result, were to be filled. Total 1479 students took the exam on August 2, majority of them re-appearing for the test. Out of this number, 488 qualified and 991 students remained unsuccessful. The total seats vacant in these schools this year now stand at 954. Only students scoring more than 80 per cent marks in Class X are eligible to sit in CET (Combined Entrance Test).
The schools were opened by the previous SAD-BJP government in 2014, and seats have remained vacant since the very first batch (2014-15). Former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had called these schools his dream project where free senior secondary education to poor meritorious students is provided along with facilities, including hostel, food, books, uniforms and free extra coaching for competitive exams.
Barring the first year, clearing the entrance exam has been a must to get admission in these schools. Last year more than 400 seats had remained vacant. This year for 4100 seats, total 4919 students appeared during ‘first entrance’ held in June, out of which 2658 students cracked the exam, while 2261 students remained unsuccessful to score 50 per cent marks in aggregate and 33 per cent in individual subjects to needed to qualify. The test was conducted for three subjects including English, Math and Science, based on Class 10 syllabus. For 4100 seats, around 10,000 students of government schools were eligible for CET this year.
A Meritorious School principal said that the result revealed the state of education in government schools. He also pointed out use of unfair means to score better in Class X exams. “Setting up of big schools would not take us to anywhere,” said renowned educationist and retired Circle Education Officer (CEO), BS Bhatia. Vice President BEd Teacher Front Punjab, Chander Shekhar, said: “Meritorious schools are good because they provide good platform to the students. Several students are getting selected in prestigious engineering exams too, but same level of education must be provided in all the government schools of the state.”
When contacted, Director General School Education (DGSE) Parshant Goyal, admitted that seats remain vacant in these schools every year despite large number of meritorious students from Class 10 qualifying for entrance test.
“We are checking entire process and will make necessary changes from next academic session as there is no point of leaving hundreds of seats vacants in these schools,” he said. Six Meritorious Schools were opened in 2014-15 in Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali, Patiala, Bathinda and Amritsar with 3,000 seats – 500 each for Class 11 and 12 in Non-medical, medical and commerce streams. Currently, the number these schools is nine.