In Uttar Patikabari village of Nadia district, the Mandal family waited with bated breath for the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) examination results. Biplab Mandal (17) wasn’t the only one who had written the examination. His parents Kalyani Mandal (32) and Balaram Mandal (42) had also appeared for it. Kalyani had dropped out after Class VIII while Balaram couldn’t study after Class IX.
“My mother had to get married and father had to quit school because of financial problems,’’ said Biplab. “But they wanted to study further.” So Kalyani and Balaram opted for open schooling and enrolled at Rabindra Mukto Vidyalaya. Balaram passed his Class X in 2013 and Kalyani the next year.
Through all this, Balaram, a farmer who owns a half-acre plot, tended to the field in the morning and studied later. Kalyani reared goats. Setting their sights on Class XII, his parents decided to join Bahirgachi High School, a government-aided school where Biplab studied. “They wanted to study… So we got permission from the headmaster. My parents had to wear the uniform,” said Biplab. “Initially my classmates were taken aback. Later they became friends with my parents.”
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All three enrolled in the arts stream. The family would share books and other materials to save money.
On Tuesday, when the results were declared, the mood in the family was mixed. While Biplab scored 50.6 per cent and Kalyani 45.6 per cent, Balaram did not pass. “I told him to seek a review. If there is no change in the results, he can take the examination again,” said Biplab. Kalyani, however, may not study further, considering the family’s finances.
Around 84.2 per cent students passed the Class XII board examinations conducted by the WBCHSE this year. This was the best pass percentage in the 15 years.
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