By Kanav Bali/Oindrila Mukherjee
“A lot of my classmates don’t even know how to write proper sentences. Teachers don’t do anything to make classes more interesting. Many of us have to support our parents financially and we don’t get time to focus on studies,” said a student of GMHS-Dhanas RC 1 where only 28 per cent students passed the Class 10 board exam this year.
Nearly 50 per cent students of Chandigarh’s government schools failed to clear the examination. The results have been a shocker for Chandigarh, which prides itself on its high achievers. Chandigarh became the worst performer in the Tricity as students sat the boards for the first time since 2009 after the government scrapped the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system last year.
The overall pass percentage plummeted 30.06 percentage points, from last year’s 96.27 per cent, to 66.21 this year. The worst sufferers were government schools while the pass percentage in private schools was over 90 per cent. Students from 90 government schools appeared for the Class 10 board examination, of whom only 41 have recorded a pass percentage of 50 and above.
At least six schools have a pass percentage between 19 and 30: Government Model High School (GMHS), Sector 25, with 19.35; Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Khuda Ali Sher, with 19.82; Government High School (GHS), Sector 24A with 21.4; GMHS-38W with 25; GMSSS-Maloya with 25.33; and GMHS-Dhanas RC 1 with 28.
Last year, in Class 10 examination, the pass percentage of Chandigarh’s government schools was 95.12 per cent. As many as 100 students from 89 schools had secured 10 CGPA.
The GMHS-Dhanas RC 1 student said students of private schools fared well because of better teaching. But teachers said the poor results were inevitable given the recent policies. “For the past six years, the students have been accustomed to grades and lenient evaluation with 40 per cent marks in the teachers’ hands,” said a government school teacher, who did not want to be named.
Teachers have claimed that a generous amount of grace was granted to students whose scores were not adding up to 33 per cent (pass percentage) in Class 9 last year. “When school heads forced the teachers to pass the students in Class 9, no one took any kind of action because they were hand in glove with the higher officials of the education department.
In the previous session, the District Education Officer formulated 45 marks as grace which led to students scoring zero clearing Class 9,” said Swarn Singh Kamboj, president, UT Cadre Educational Employees’ Union.
The worst hit are the periphery schools of the city that performed well last year. The worst performer in Class 10 examination is GMHS-25 with 19.35 per cent. According to information, 217 students appeared for the exam, of whom 67 failed and 108 got a compartment.
As many as 152 students have failed English, followed by 110 in SST, 103 in science, 34 in mathematics and six in Hindi. “The main factor behind this result is the no-detention policy we have to follow up to Class 8. So students take things for granted. Before the boards, some of them would make a joke out of it and say they never wrote a single word in their answer sheets,” said Anuradha Singh, head in-charge of GMHS-25.
The two other schools in the bottom three are GMSSS-Khuda Ali Sher and GHS-24A with pass percentage as 19.82 and 21.8, respectively.
At GMSSS-Khuda Ali Sher, as many as 30 students have failed and around 65 have got a compartment. “Earlier, the results were heavily manipulated by which I mean the teachers controlled the marks,” said Seema Rani, principal of the school. She added that the school scored well in English, but results were poor in mathematics and science.
At GHS-24A, of 64 students, as many as 18 students failed and 31 got a compartment. The highest number of students got a compartment in mathematics. The second-highest compartments were in SST.
Teachers also blame “family environment” of students for poor results.
“A majority of our students come from slum areas, so their parents are illiterate and unaware of what’s happening in school. Parents don’t even come and check,” said a teacher from GHS-24A.
In private schools too, subjects such as social studies, mathematics and science wreaked havoc with the psyche of students. This batch of Class 10 students walked into the examination halls afraid.
“I was scared that I will fail all the subjects. During my pre-board exams too, I hardly got through mathematics and social studies,” said a student who has scored above 85 per cent. The student added that it was an irrational fear, but the pressure was too much to handle.
Parents too feel that the government’s “ever-changing” policies have adversely affected the students. The student’s mother, who is a doctor, said, “What was the need to shift this batch to the board pattern all of a sudden? If CCE was not working, then a proper phase-wise transformation would have been more suitable.”