“Maine bohot mehnat ki,” said 16-year-old Zafar Khan, who scored 69.4 per cent in the Class X exam. His excitement is palpable — Khan is the only one in his class of 40 students at Rajkiya Uchchya Vidyalaya in Haryana’s Nuh district to have cleared the Class X exam, conducted by the Haryana Board of School Education. Results were declared on May 22, and two days later, angry parents locked the school in protest. This prompted school authorities to transfer two teachers, Dharam Singh and Mohammad Ilyas.
Zafar, a resident of Kolgaon village, joined the school in Rawli village only in Class X. Before this, he studied at the private Ahmed Memorial Public School. He said that from January onwards, all he did was study, and “even cricket took a back seat”. He would sleep at midnight and wake up at 4 am.
“Even I started staying awake till 1 am,” said his father, Hasan, a truck driver. His mother, Anisha, said, “My son is very sincere; we never have to nag him for studies.”
While Zafar did not have many complaints against his teachers, his classmates told a different story. “Our teachers are not interested in taking classes,” a student said. His father added, “Only students of Rawli school failed but all those studying in private schools passed.”
Another student claimed, “Teachers are never in class. All they do is drink tea and eat Parle-G biscuits. Even our headmistress is busy with meetings and other things.” One of the students who failed said he has decided to leave the school. “There is no discipline here. I want to take admission in a private school and try again.”
Teachers, however, refuted the claims. Headmistress Sadhna Sharma said, “We held extra classes before the board exams. We had expected at least eight to 10 students to score well. There are many problems at the ground level but we try our best. Students never go home and study. Some have to do household chores, work at the farms and look after their siblings. There are some who don’t attend class. When we call their parents, they never show up.”
Pointing to the other problems, she added, “The government provides free textbooks till Class VIII. But students of classes IX and X are often without books; their parents don’t purchase them. The government’s no-detention policy is also to be blamed. Until Class VIII, no parent cares about the results. Once their children fail in the board exams, parents pin the blame on teachers.”
Mohammad Khalid, a teacher, said the problem starts much earlier. “Up to Class VIII, only boys are taught in this school. Girls are admitted only in classes IX and X. The girls’ school in the village does not have teachers. As a result, students don’t learn anything till Class VIII. How can such students pass the board exams?” he said.
Back in class, many students now plan to reappear for the board exam. Zafar, however, dreams of joining polytechnic and has his hopes set on cracking the entrance.