Scoring 33 per cent marks in theory and practical each was a must to pass in any subject under the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) system, but not any more. Ahead of exams, the PSEB has lowered the pass percentage in theory and practical of each subject from 33 per cent to 20 per cent, while keeping the pass percentage in the aggregate of theory and practical the same (33 per cent).
At present this applies only to Classes V, VIII and X.
The state education department claimed though the theory and practical pass percentages have been lowered separately, students will still have to get more than 20 per cent marks either in practical or theory of any subject to reach the total 33 per cent aggregate, which is also the main condition for passing in a subject.
In aggregate marks, the marks of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) will also be added to score 33 per cent marks. This move is also a step close to the CBSE passing marks criteria.
According to the new norms (the copy of which is also available with The Indian Express) issued by the PSEB, in a move away from the age old pass percentage system, now the students are required to get minimum 20 per cent marks in each theory and practical to pass, while the aggregate of both theory and practical must be 33 per cent.
The amendment has been made to the pass formula for Class X on the lines of the CBSE board, as well as Classes V and VIII (during which students take board exams under PSEB). This method will be implemented from coming exams which are to be begin in March. No official announcement has been made for Class XII.
For instance, in Class X, there are total seven subjects including English, Math (90 marks theory and 10 marks practical), Math and (SST) (80 marks each theory and 10 marks each practical), Science (70 marks theory, 20 marks practical and 10 marks CCE), Hindi and Punjabi (both have 90 marks each theory and 10 mark each CCE), a process of assessment mandated by the Right to Education Act and Computer Science (50 marks of theory, 40 of practical and 10 CCE).
Now if a students gets 20 per cent marks in English theory it will be 18 marks out of 90 and 20 per cent in practical comes to 2 marks. The total will come to just 20 marks and the student will fail because the aggregate would come to just 20 per cent out of 100 and not the required 33 per cent.
This shows that even though the theory and practical pass percentage has been lowered, students would require 25.5 marks (23 marks out of 90) in theory even if a student gets all 10 out of 10 marks in practical to pass the exam. Similar is the case of Hindi and Punjabi subjects.
‘System will ruin marks pattern’
“This is an attempt to enhance the pass percentage under the Punjab board because even if a student is required to get 20 per cent marks only or a little more to reach the aggregate of 33 per cent, the individual percentage in theory and practically would still remain less than that of the earlier 33 per cent passing marks,” said Mulakh Raj, President Nawanshahr of Democratic Teacher Front (DTF), adding that in practical and CCE, the marks are in the hands of school teachers only.
“This system will ruin our marks pattern because it may increase the pass percentage but not the number of quality students and also such pass percentage with lower marks would prove detrimental for filling teachers’ vacancies when schools will have a good pass percentage with less number of teachers,” said he, while questioning the need to move away from this system just because CBSE is doing so.
Kuldip Singh Daurka, general secretary of Government Teachers Union Punjab, said, “If one board is following the wrong practice why we are going after that rather straightening the education system?” He further said that it will also save teachers who shirk work and spur them from not working hard on weak students.
District Education Officer (Secondary) Massa Singh however disagreed and said that aggregate pass marks are 33 per cent only. “In the new system we will also consider CCE marks to pass students which is good for upping the morale of the students as sometimes weak students perform very well at a later stage. The new system is good for both good and weak students in this manner.”
Another DEO said it will make students and teachers relaxed and they can learn more. He said that due to this pattern CBSE pass percentage is more than the state boards.
According to the CBSE pattern, students required 33 per cent pass marks in aggregate as there is no condition of minimum passing marks in theory and practical like Punjab Board’s new norm.
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