The government discarding its earlier proposal to fix separate pass marks for theory and practical examinations in subjects like science and mathematics has made passing these subjects in state Board examinations a cakewalk. Students usually score high in practical tests conducted internally by schools and pass even if they fare poorly in the written exam. This spells the doom for further career growth,say experts worried at the dipping standards.
A meeting will be convened shortly for a rethink on this,said Sarjerao Jadhav,chairman,Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MBSHSE).
Separate minimum marks in the written and practicals were proposed in 2009. It was proposed that a student should score at least 25 in mathematics and science written. This was implemented in class 9 and 11 on a pilot basis for the 2010-11 batch. To ensure a better pass percentage in the Board exams in the subsequent year,some schools in Mumbai,taking advantage of the rule,ensured that a lot of students fail in these subjects. The government stayed the order for the Board exams in 2012, said Jadhav. Experts say there should be minimum pass marks in theory and practicals. It is important to have individual pass marks for theory and practical exams to keep quality of students high. Most schools award almost 100 per cent marks in practical exams. Since science subjects have 30 marks for practicals and 70 for theory,if a student gets full marks in practical,all he or she needs is 5 marks in the written exam. Hence it is easy for a student to get 35 marks to pass, said Sridhar Salunke,former director of the primary and secondary education department.
But because of this,our students fare poorly in exams like JEE and other central exams as quality takes a beating. I am not blaming either the Board or the government but both should concentrate on quality of education rather than number of children who pass, said Salunke.
A student has to get 35 marks in practical and theory to pass. We had forwarded a proposal earlier this year to the government to keep 20 as minimum pass marks in the written exams of subjects that have any internal assessment. Hence we proposed that a minimum marks criterion be set for written exam next year onwards for any subject that has practicals,like physics,chemistry,biology and mathematics,besides language subjects that have oral tests, said Jadhav.
All stakeholders will hold a meeting in June to decide whether it is judicious to keep minimum pass marks separately for practicals and theory or not. But for the current results,the minimum pass marks is 35 in theory and practicals combined, said Jadhav.