Updated: June 10, 2022 10:29:48 am
Andhra Pradesh’s recently released Class 10 results – at 67.26 per cent, the pass percentage is the worst in 20 years – triggered a political slugfest between the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) and the Opposition TDP, with the action playing out during a Zoom call.
About 2 lakh students failed the Class 10 exams, the first since the pandemic, and four students died by suicide after the results were announced on June 6.
On Thursday, the TDP arranged a video-conference call where the party’s general secretary Nara Lokesh Naidu was to talk to Class 10 students and their parents to “address their concerns” and to know what went wrong. Participants were given the login credentials and told to join at 11 am.
The call went on as planned with some of the students telling Naidu that they could not concentrate during their online classes, while others spoke about not being able to understand much of the syllabus.
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However, minutes into the call, YSRCP leader and former minister Kodali Venkateshwara Rao, MLA Vallabhaneni Vamsi Mohan (a TDP rebel who joined YSRCP), YSRCP social media coordinator Devendra Reddy, and municipal corporator Kothapalli Rajini, appeared on the screen.
Reddy led the charge, accusing Naidu of politicising the Class 10 results: “Why are you playing politics with the students? Why involve them?”
Naidu, however, refused to get drawn into the argument, saying that with children around, this was not the place to discuss what the YSRCP leaders wanted. As the heckling continued, the TDP managers disconnected the calls of the YSRCP leaders and went ahead with the session.
Later, Naidu accused the YSRCP leaders of using the login details of students to interrupt the meeting. “At least in the case of Kodali Venkateshwara Rao, it can be clearly seen that a student logged in, after which Rao sat in his chair facing the laptop. Similarly, others also used student IDs or created fake IDs to login. This was done to disrupt the meeting and bring disrepute to the TDP. I was only talking to the students to offer support as they are all unhappy with the results,” he told The Indian Express.
Reddy responded: “I asked Lokesh why he was playing politics with the students. He did not reply and instead tried to shut us down. I asked him why he did not do anything when TDP was in power and several students committed suicide. He did not reply to that either. Our objection was about the TDP involving students in its politics. We did not intend to disrupt the meeting.”
“There was no reason to politicise the results. Instead of debating with us, Lokesh Naidu mumbled something and ran away,’’ Vamsi claimed.
When asked why he did not engage with the YSRCP leaders, Naidu took a dig at the YSRCP and said that the meeting was to talk to students “who appeared for the Class 10 exams this year, not for those who failed several years ago”.
Later, after the YSRCP leaders were blocked out of the call, Naidu said the government must waive the fee for “reverification” and “supplementary exams”. He also said that it was unfortunate that some students took their lives after they failed, while seeking compensation for the families of those who died.
Saying the YSRCP should take responsibility for the students who failed, Naidu alleged a “conspiracy behind the large-scale failure of the students”.
Later, YSRCP MLA Vamsi said the state government is looking into the Class 10 results to see why so many students failed.
Education Department officials said 32.74 per cent students failed in one or more subjects. While girls had a pass percentage of 70.70, only 64.02 per cent boys cleared the exams. Most of the failures were in maths and science, “subjects that were difficult to teach online during the pandemic’’, an official said.
Education Minister Botsa Satyanarayana said the education department will look into the reasons for the poor performance. “It appears that the pandemic disrupted study habits of the children. We need to conduct special classes in schools for Class 10 students this academic year,’’ he told The Indian Express.
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