Political Games And Education Failure: The Sorrow Of India’s Children

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Board-resultsIt’s that time of the year again. Students awaiting their board results check to see their performance, with anxious parents hanging on to see how their wards have done. Joy unbound for those who manage to attain the illusive satisfactory result, while anguish and despair for those who don’t make the par for the examinations.

India, a country where the marks are more important than awareness or acuity, faces another lot of board results for Education Boards around the country. Results which will continue to haunt students for years to come and in cases, haunt them down the dark road of depression and suicide. With nearly 49 boards of education recognised by the Government of India, this is the time-of-the-year-made-tense across the country.

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But the rising cases of schools posting dismal pass percentages is a growing trend in the country. In Himachal Pradesh earlier this year, all students appearing for class 10th HP Board exams from 16 schools were declared failed. Eighty-six other schools saw less than 20% students passing the same exam. For the class 12th students, it wasn’t any prettier a picture with three schools showing none passing and another 24 schools with less than 20% students clearing the exams.

In Himachal, there were other factors at play, such as schools having only one student appearing for the exam and not being able to clear it (Government High School, Mooring, in Lahaul-Spiti). Similar circumstances surrounded some schools in Kullu and Gaushal. On the other hand, Government Senior Secondary School, Pathiar in Kangra had 122 students who appeared in the exam, while only nine have managed to clear it.

More recently, the Haryana Board declared its results on 22nd May, which had more shockers in store. While the highest pass percentage was around 70% for Sonepat, districts like Faridabad, Karnal and Ambala showed poor pass results ranging between 34.47% (Faridabad) and 40.57% (Ambala). In other words, nearly two out of every three students who appeared for the exams, failed. Government officials point at Mewat as a district, which has been showing an improvement in performance from their bleak 25.46% last year. It is yet to hit the halfway mark with 49.3% students managing to clear the exam. Even overall, the state had a pass percentage of only 48.88%.

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When confronted with the results, government officials have been quick to blame the politics of the state on the poor performance. Officials reasoned that under the previous Congress government, grace marks were awarded which allowed the pass percentage to stay up, a practice which has since been stopped. They also claim districts are showing a gradual improvement since the change in policy.

While it is easy to pass the buck, this gives some insight into the alarming situation evolving before us. At a time when the competition for colleges and good jobs gets tougher every day, this trend shows a failing system on its last legs being brought down further; courtesy the Indian mentality of chasing after marks.

Ranveer Raj Bhatnagar

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