Among Class XII students who failed in the science stream this year, the highest number of students failed in chemistry. Among a total of 1,34,209 students who took the chemistry examination, 99,267 students cleared the exams while 34,942 students failed and will be appearing in the exam again.
Chemistry is a common subject taken up by all those seeking professional degrees, both for medical and engineering courses. Students who have been failing the boards have also been failing in chemistry for the last seven years in a row now.
Incidentally, chemistry recorded highest failure rate even after the board increased the total grace marks for the subject to 15 — the highest among subjects — this year after the students complained that the paper was tough. Among science subjects, this year again chemistry turned out to be the subject with least pass percentage of 83.50 per cent. Biology recorded the highest pass percentage of 87.43, followed by mathematics at 86.76 per cent and physics at 84.59 per cent.
An increase in the number of students taking up science over these years in the last seven year is directly proportional to the number of students failing in chemistry. Compared to mathematics, the subject which is considered to be tough among students, out of 57,591 students who took the exam, 12,209 could not clear the subject. In biology, this number was 21,116 as out of 76,618 students, 55,503 cleared the subject. In physics, out of 1,34,224 students who appeared for the exam, 1,06,692 students cleared and 27,532 failed to do so.
Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama told The Indian Express that the government will introspect on the reasons for this trend. “If this is the case, then certainly an analysis would be conducted to find out the reasons. We will find out if there is an issue with the curriculum or if there is any other factor that is impacting the chemistry result for all these years,” Chudasama said.
While some subject experts blamed the curriculum, the majority have held the “rote learning” by students to be responsible for this. Atul Baldev from Rajkot, who has taught chemistry for the last 19 years, blamed the Gujarat state board’s curriculum. “The major problem is with the Gujarat board curriculum. The basics are not cleared in Class IX and X and thus students fail to find chemistry interesting in higher classes. A student who has cleared Class X in CBSE or ICSE board will fare better in Class XII GSHSEB exams,” he said.
“Students do not find chemistry interesting. As a result, the teachers ask them to mug up. While the questions in the exams are asked on conceptual clarity, the maximum students fail to solve these,” said Professor Sachin Parikh from the Department of Chemical Engineering at LD Engineering College in Ahmedabad, who has been teaching chemistry for the last 22 years.
This was also echoed by the students who failed to clear the subject this year. Chemistry teacher Mukesh Otiya, who has been teaching at Kameshwar School in Ahmedabad’s Satellite area, a grant-in-aid school, for the last 29 years, agrees. “Most students follow rote learning and teachers too encourage them to do so. With poor understanding for the basics, even a slight twisted question is not solved by them. Questions in the exam are always asked from the curriculum only but students say they fail to understand it if there is even a slight change,” said Mukesh Parikh.
Chaitanya Sanghvi, a professor of Mechanical Department at L D Engineering college, too blames it on the curriculum. “The curriculum structure is very complex and thus considered to be tough by the students. This is something that the students share with me during interactions,” he said.