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Data from state boards’ Class 10 results shows rise in dropouts, fall in pass percentage

New Delhi: In this year’s Class 10 results, 157 schools from the Gujarat state board saw zero students pass, while another 1,084 reported a pass percentage of less than 30 percent. In Karnataka, 34 schools had a pass percentage of zero.

Such performance in SSC exams is not restricted to certain state boards only. Data released by the Ministry of Education shows that the failure rate of students under some state boards is as high as 16 percent, compared to just 5 percent for those studying under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 2021-22.  

It was also observed that poor performance by state boards leads to large numbers of students dropping out of the education system. This not only impacts the overall enrollment figures in the country, but also has a detrimental effect on India’s global rankings in education matrixes. 

Data released by the Ministry of Education in May show that approximately 35 lakh students enrolled in Class 10 in 2021-2022 did not progress to Class 11 in the country. Of these 35 lakh students, 27.5 lakh failed while the remaining 7.5 lakh did not appear for the Board examinations. 

Eleven states account for 85 percent of dropouts, or nearly 30 lakh students, in the country, according to the analysis of the ministry’s data. These states are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam, West Bengal, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.

As the Ministry of Education data reflect that state boards are failing to keep up with the pass percentage of CBSE, ThePrint takes a look at the performance of India’s six most populous states — Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka, Gujarat and Maharashtra — to understand how their students fared in the SSC examinations. 

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Cause of concern 

In Madhya Pradesh, about 40 percent of the total 8,15,364 students failed to clear the exam while the pass percentage is about 63. While the pass percentage is 89.78 in Uttar Pradesh, the total number of students registering for the exam dropped from 36,56,272 in 2018 to 31,16,454 in 2023. 

While all the six states show a fall in overall student enrollment as compared to the previous years, some states had worrying numbers. 

Gujarat, for example, saw student enrollment drop from 7,72,771 in 2022 to 7,34,898 in 2023. Patan was the lowest performing district with 54.29 percent last year, while Dahod stood much below at 40 percent this year. 

Additionally, the pass grade had the maximum number of Class 10 students (1,39,248) who cleared the Board exam. The overall percentage has remained around 65 in the last two academic sessions. 

Madhya Pradesh, which has a pass percentage of 63, faces a peculiar situation. 

Unlike the general perception that private schools are better than their government counterparts, district-wise data reveal an opposite scenario. Private schools of Gwalior, Ujjain, Indore and Bhopal had a pass percentage of 12.81, 14, 24 and 14, respectively. 

In other states like West Bengal and Karnataka where the Board performance is better, the drop in student enrollment is an issue of concern. 

For example, Bengal’s student enrollment dropped from 11,27,800 in 2022 to 6,97,212 in 2023. The overall pass percentage is 86 but it is a drop from 100 in 2021. Similarly, the number of Karnataka students appearing for the Class X exam dropped from 87,1443 in 2021 to 83,5102 in 2023. 

English medium schools had better results than those in regional languages, according to the data. Consider this: the pass percentage of Gujarati medium schools was 63.13 while that of English medium schools was 81.50. This was 85.5 percent and 91.66 percent in the case of Karnataka’s Kannada and English medium schools. 

Basavaraju R. Shreshta, Executive Director, Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement — a Karnataka-based public policy and research think tank — was of the opinion that the students in state boards do not perform simply because of problems with the medium of instruction. 

“The problem with most regional language schools is the dearth of good subject teachers. The language teachers may be good in these schools but there has been a dearth of good teachers in the so-called difficult subjects like mathematics and sciences. This leads to a drop in the overall performance of such schools,” he said.

“The NEP talks about providing students with the option of subjects on skilling other than the ones traditionally provided. If that is implemented in the schooling system promptly it could help improve the performance of students at class 10 level, preventing early dropouts,” he added.

Like in the CBSE, girls outperform boys in the six state Boards. The pass percentage of girls and boys was 87 and 80 in Karnataka, 70.62 and 59.58 in Gujarat, 87 and 80 in Karnataka, 95.87 and 92.05 in Maharashtra, and 93.34 and 86.64 in Uttar Pradesh. Bengal was the exception as the pass percentage of boys and girls 89.76 and 83.05.

The Covid impact & socio-economic factor

Manish Jain, Assistant Professor at Ambedkar University pointed out that not only did the pandemic increase the income gap, it also aggravated the gap in school level learning and access to learning. 

“It is important to note that the students who appeared for Class 10 exams this year studied only parts of their course content in the past two Covid years. The medium of learning was not ideal, which in turn disrupted the discipline which comes with going to a school. The poor result is an outcome of promoting students to senior grades despite the massive learning loss that ensued due to the lockdown,” he said.

As schools and districts registering zero pass percentage is not new, Jain said, it is important to study the socio-economic conditions of these regions. 

“If these are areas which have a large population of the marginalised communities (SC\ST\OBC), then officials should bring to the state’s notice the requirement for infrastructure and socio-economic development,” he said in the context of Gujarat and Karnataka. 

Prof. Manisha Priyam of the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration pointed out that if states with high literacy rates are failing to perform on such indicators, then there is a need for a deeper look into understanding the factors causing these failures.

“States south of the Vindhyas are considered to be educationally developed and highly literate. If their data also suggests that student learning in regional languages is not successful, then there is a need for greater examination into why the CBSE Board works better across the country,” she said.

(Edited by Tony Rai)

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Source: The Print

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