Unable to clear Class IX entrance test, 4,000 students stare at dropping out

Uncertain future: To control rush, govt conducts entrance test; 48 per cent students failed.

Written by Shikha Sharma | New Delhi | Published: September 22, 2014 1:18:44 am
Schools that serve as polling booths have to be ready for the elections. ( Express file ) According to figures released by the department, 4,400 of the 9,189 students failed the exam. ( Express file )

Thousands of students who wanted to take admission in Class IX in the capital’s government schools are now facing the prospect of dropping out entirely, after 48 per cent of them failed to clear an entrance test conducted by the Education department.

Pointing to “difficulty to adjust non-plan students” and the “huge crunch for space”, the Education department had conducted three entrance tests this year for non-plan students. According to figures released by the department, 4,400 of the 9,189 students failed the exam.

“All students who had been promoted from Class VIII in all government schools and unaided recognised schools attached in Admission Plan have been given admission. Although the Directorate of Education (DoE) is facing a huge crunch for space, finding it difficult to adjust non-plan students, the department has already conducted three entrance tests for admission to Class IX,” the letter written by DoE, and accessed by Newsline, states.

“In the first test conducted on May 2, 2,224 of the 4,312 students passed. The second test was conducted on July 23 for the remaining students. In that, 1,527 of the 3,517 students passed. To take care of the remaining, the DoE conducted a third and final entrance test on August 19, where 1,045  of 1,360 passed,” the letter states.

A 15-year-old girl from Loni, Uttar Pradesh, however, made it to a school despite having not cleared the test. After clearing Class VIII, she was denied admission in several government schools on the grounds that she had not appeared for the entrance test. Eventually, she was granted admission on account of her disability and a High Court order. But, for most others who did not clear the test, dropping out of school has become the only option.

According to DoE officials, there are around 2,00,000 students in each class. Another  2,72,000 students in Class IX has put added pressure on the space and resources of schools.

“Till Class VIII, schools have a policy of no detention under RTE. So they can’ fail students. As a result, an unprecedented number of students have been coming to Class IX. Sadly, not all are qualified for it. We thought of conducting an entrance test so that students are encouraged to study and we can check the ability of students getting admission into Class IX,” Padmini Singla, director, DoE, said.

“Also we can’t deny admission to students from our schools. The government has limited resources, so this was the only option. By the end of the third test, there were only 300-odd students we were not able to accommodate,” Singla claimed.

“Private schools are trying to push non-performing students into government schools, especially after Class VIII. This is another reason for the rush,” she claimed.

“Most of these children belong to poor, migrant families. Even if one argues that the state doesn’t have enough resources, or quality of education is not up to the mark till Class VIII, resulting in him failing in Class IX, it is not the mistake of the child. It is the state’s mistake,” Khagesh Jha, from the Social Jurist, a lawyer’s collective working on education, said.

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