The UT education department on Tuesday asked government schools to submit the details of grace marks given to students in Class 9 in 2017. The directive follows a meeting between teachers’ representatives and Education Secretary B L Sharma on Tuesday to convey that the poor CBSE Class 10 and Class 12 board results in Chandigarh’s government schools were due to the no-detention and grace marks policies.
The teachers blamed an “unofficial” communication to them from a senior education department official last year asking them to give as many as 45 grace marks to promote Class 9 students. The teachers, representing the Joint Action Committee of the UT teachers and SSA Teachers’ Welfare Association, also blamed the no-detention policy under the Right to Education Act, and non-academic duties assigned to them for the poor results, especially the Class 10 performance.
The email, sent by the deputy district education officer (DEO) to the heads and principals of all the government schools, has asked for “information regarding the number of students promoted from Class 9 to Class 10 with grace marks by June 6 before 9am positively.”
According to information, 40 per cent students who did not pass the Class 9 exams last year were awarded 15 out of 60 as grace marks as a “one-time chance”. Now, these students have either got a compartment in Class 10 or failed the examination.
Last year, the CBSE introduced the uniform assessment policy in Class 9, under which the school was responsible for only 20 marks as internal assessment as opposed to 70 marks earlier. Schools recorded a pass percentage of 100 due to heavy manipulation at their level.
This year, only 50 per cent students in the government schools have managed to pass the Class 10 board examination. Only 41 out of 89 schools have got a pass percentage of 50 and above, while some schools have recorded as low as 19.35.
“When I met the education secretary, he was shocked to know that this grace policy was followed under orders from the department. Back then, I had met the DEO and deputy DEO repeatedly over the irrational policy,” said Arvind Rana, President, SSA Teachers’ Welfare Association.
Education Secretary Sharma told Chandigarh Newsline that he was strictly against the grace marks policy and that it was an “injustice” to the students.
“In Delhi, they detained 50 per cent students in Class 9 and that has resulted in 89 per cent students passing Class 10 this year. If the children are not performing well, they should get ample guidance from the teachers. The damage has been done now and once the data comes to me I will take remedial steps,” Sharma said.
Among the non-academic activities assigned to the teachers was the Swachh Bharat Pakhwada during the half-yearly exams in August-September. According to Rana, teachers have spent at least two school periods daily in cleaning the school or organising skits. The department had demanded daily reports for the activities carried out in schools.
In February, at least four to five mathematics and science teachers, on rotation basis, were involved in a seminar under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) budget head.
“This was the time for revision with the students. Also, twice a year, teachers have to look after scholarships awarded to SC/ST/BC students. They fill in the details and verify them. The SSA in-charges of schools also make the salary slips of teachers in each school and have to go for an audit once a year,” said a teacher, on condition of anonymity.
Other activities include handling the building, science and stationery funds, along with textbook collection and distribution, supervision and bimonthly inspection of Midday Meal.