Trendsetting Results

The results of the tenth and twelfth standard examination by the JK Board of School Education (BOSE) involving 150 thousand students offers some clear and interesting indications of the state and status of education in the public and private sector, Masood Hussain reports

There have been some snail-pace interventions in the basic education set-up in recent years but the system of examinations is unlikely to change from the traditional system. While the systems in vogue will continue to test the students for their memory power, these will rarely be accepted as a way out to understand the personality and the capacity of an individual.

Till the new educational policy starts making some rudimentary shifts, the results of the examination by the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) would continue to offer key indicators of Kashmir’s state and status of education. The picture may look hazier, however, as the education system moved online for the last two academic sessions making the students literal guinea pigs for the new experimentation dictated by the Covid19 pandemic. It exposed the chinks in the armour from a visible digital divide, superimposition of politics priorities on services and teaching community’s efforts to pick up the art of managing a class virtually. Owing to the shift in the teaching systems, the authorities did offer some concessions to the candidates.

The results of the twelfth class and the tenth class made public in the last 10 days, offer certain trends of the sector which apparently are not in variance with what was already obvious. The trends were actually reinforced by these results.

Not Bad

The overall percentage of the candidates who passed the two examinations is almost the same – 78.43 per cent of 72684 candidates passed in the tenth standard and 75 per cent of 72180 candidates in the twelfth managed to get in a new class. It also indicates that most of the students that appear for the examinations in the tenth class hardly see a major variation and the drop-out rate is low. In fact, the twelfth class batch that wrote their examination for tenth in 2019 was smaller thus indicating that those who failed in the last two years also wrote their examinations.

Insiders in the education sector suggest that the pass percentage can improve if the examination system offers a slight shift in accommodating part of the classroom activities in addition to the IQ, which is the main parameter. In most of the educationally forward states in India, the pass percentage is usually above or around 90 per cent.

Girls Shine

In both the examinations, as has been the trend, girls perform better. Most of the top scores in both classes were girls.

In the twelfth class, girls put up a better show than boys. Overall girls have a pass percentage of 78 per cent in comparison to boys who have an overall pass percentage of 72 per cent. A six per cent difference is a major variation if compared to the average pass percentage at the matriculation level in the two genders. Girls actually performed better in all the streams in comparison to boys.

In the matriculation, however, the pass percentage did not offer a huge difference. As many as 78.14 per cent of boys and 78.74 per cent of girls passed the examination. Unlike twelfth class, girls had to spear some slots in the top positions for the boys as well.

Area Results

In the Kashmir situation, as everybody knows, certain areas are more sensitive than others. It is the sensitivity that triggers interventions at the governance level thus somehow impacting the studies. These interventions were more visible on the internet rationing front. Right now, there are areas across Kashmir where the internet is closed for specific hours thus impacting access to offline education.

In the tenth class examination, for instance, the three better performing districts were the most sensitive ones – Shopian, Pulwama and Srinagar. Pulwama topped with 90.26 per cent of its candidates manage to pass, followed by 86.21 per cent in Shopian and 85.29 per cent in Srinagar.

The districts seen as slightly less sensitive and comparatively more peaceful could not perform better in comparison. Bandipore was at the bottom of the list with a pass percentage of 64.632. The pass percentage was 77.72 per cent for Anantnag. 75.20 for Baramulla, 79.55 per cent for Budgam, 74.44 for Ganderbal, 79.49 for Kulgam, 70.25 per cent for Kupwara.

Though a district-wise comparison was not available in the twelfth class results, the education zone wise analysis suggests it was remote Gurez topping the chart with 84 per cent, followed by Pulwama with 82 per cent and Anantnag by 80 per cent (in government sector schools). If the BOSE manages data on a district wise basis, almost the matriculation trend would also reflect.

Private versus Public

In Kashmir, the gradual decay in the public sector schools gradually led to the takeoff of the private sector. One key factor that played the major game-changer was the introduction of the English language in the government schools at a much later stage, in comparison to the private sector.

However, the major drawback in the private sector educational setup is that it almost closes at tenth class. Quite a few private sector educational institutions impart education beyond the tenth class. Even in those limited number of schools, the enrolment would have been better but the schools’ consider entry in the eleventh standard as a fresh admission making it expensive. Ideally, it should not be a new admission as the student does not change the board.

The results of the two classes declared recently do reinforce the fact that the private schools are performing better. This is despite the private sector lacking access to the massive infrastructure and the highly trained human resource.

For the tenth class, the pass percentage of private schools was at 91.18 per cent and that of public sector schools 67.25 per cent. This is a major difference in the outcomes to which the access to knowledge in the online mode could be one factor. Most of the government schools operate in far-flung areas, even in conditions where improved connectivity or affordability of a smartphone is an issue.

In the twelfth class results, the state-run schools recorded a pass percentage of 74 per cent in comparison to the 89 per cent in the case of private schools.

However, the major difference between the two classes is that, unlike the tenth class, quite a few students came from the private schools’ set-up, simply because this facility almost ceases after the tenth class.

In BOSE’s tenth class examination, 46.72 per cent of 72684 candidates came from the private sector, which is quite huge. In the twelfth class, however, only 8.27 per cent of 72180 candidates were from 87 schools where 10+2 is being taught in diverse streams, mostly in Srinagar.

Elitism Over

In Kashmir’s educational scene, a couple of major brands were dominating. These include the five Christian missionary schools run by the Catholics and Protestants in Srinagar and Baramulla. By and large, they used to get the top slots and coupled with their evolution and history, they always remained a key preference for the parents.

Part of their sheen was faded with the entry of CBSE-syllabus DPS chain with their Srinagar school perhaps offering no challenge. Now the so-called B-grade schools that were promoted by the native entrepreneurs have started dominating the scene.

In the twelfth class examination results (NCERT), Mallinson was perhaps the leader of the elites as it took 20 in the top three slots; Biscoe got two, Burn Hall seven, Presentation Convent eight and all others were taken by so-called B-grades including the top slot. The private sector got a total of 115 slots in 257 slots in the third slot. The government schools had 142 positions with the state-run Higher Secondary School Kothibagh dominating the scene with almost 24 top positions.

Though 19 candidates shared the top slot – 500/500 – in the tenth class, it was not immediately known, which student belongs to which school. It is, however, obvious that most of the top three slots – 19 in 500/500, 24 in 499/500, 44 in 498/500 and 68 in 497/500 – will be with the so-called B-grade schools.

While these scores are no good indicator of a candidate’s capacity (because it lacks emotional and social quotients and is solely an IQ) this trend indicates a better situation in the emergence of Kashmir’s private sector.

Private Preference

Up to the tenth standard, the results reinforce the reality that the parents prefer the private sector over public sector schools, at least in Kashmir. This is the real challenge for the hugely resourceful public sector educational setup.

In Kashmir 46.72 per cent of the tenth class, students were from private educational institutions. Interestingly, of the 10 Kashmir districts, five districts attract more students at the level of the tenth class than the government-run schools. These are Srinagar, 8027 students were enrolled with the private sector in comparison to 2042 in government schools; Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam and Ganderbal. In fact, there was not much difference in the ennoblement in Anantnag in 2021 – 505 were in the private sector and 5396 in public sector schools.

However, in Bandipore, Kupwara and Baramulla, the government schools have huge numbers. It could have something to do with the economic profile of the areas or even better education imparted by the public sector schools.

In fact, at the zero level, the private sector is far ahead of the state-run schools as they attract more students. The key factor is the delayed introduction of the English language and the absence of a pre-school setup. These interventions are expected to take place under the new educational policy that is adopted from this academic year. It remains to be seen, how effective it will be in changing the scene, currently dominated by the private sector.

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