Around 64.75 per cent students failed the Class XII examinations conducted by the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) this year. This was the worst BSEB result in two decades. According to the results declared on Tuesday, only 30.11 per cent science students and 37.11 per cent arts students passed. The commerce stream pass percentage was 73.76.
In the wake of the toppers scam, the BSEB had this year introduced stringent measures for fair examination and evaluation of students. The board attributed this year’s dip in pass percentage — it was 67.1 in 2016 — to these measures. BSEB chairperson Anand Kishor said the results should be taken in the right spirit as the way forward to ensure quality education. “We introduced bar coding to protect the identity of candidates during evaluation, besides ensuring fair examination,” he said.
Bihar Education Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary conceded that these were the worst results in the last two decades. The state board registered such results during the tenures of Chief Ministers Bindeshwari Dubey (1985-88) and Kedar Pandey (1972-1973), and in the mid-1990s. “As education minister, I am surely not happy with the result. But we are working in a positive direction to shrug off the tag that most Bihar students pass exams by using unfair means. After the toppers scam, we introduced a transparent system to ensure fair examination. Those who have passed are gold,” Choudhary told The Indian Express, adding that those who had failed still had a chance to write compartmental examinations in five subjects.
The toppers’ scam hit the headlines after it was found that the science and arts toppers of 2016 could not answer simple questions. The then BSEB chairperson Lalkeshwar Prasad Singh was among those arrested for tampering with the evaluation process. The Indian Express published a three-part series — Schools of Scandal — on how fake and substandard schools had been given affiliation. Affiliation of around 212 Bihar schools and inter-colleges was later cancelled.
This year, Simulala Awasiya Vidyalaya student Khushbu Kumari topped the science stream with 86.2 per cent. Priyanshu Jaiswal of Commerce College Patna was the commerce topper with 81.6 per cent while Ganesh Kumar from a Samastipur school was the arts topper with 82.6 per cent. A total of 12,40,168 students wrote the examinations, and only 4,37,115 passed.