by Khalid Bashir Gura
SRINAGAR: The queries and anxieties of Kashmir’s tenth-graders were finally settled when the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (JKBOSE) declared results on the morning of Feb 26. As soon as results were declared, the phones did not stop to ring. The homes of passing students wore a festive look. The sweet shops witnessed a rush as relatives, neighbours, and friends poured into congratulating the qualified ones.
As girls outshined boys, 17 students shared top position in the examination considered historically crucial to individual careers. Among them, two from the old city’s Khanyar and Fateh Kadal also shared the rank. Rutba Javeed and Anas Amin Mir are the duo.
Anas, 16, a resident of Khanyar studied at a nearby City Central Educational Institute. His father is a shopkeeper while as his mother a homemaker.
Schools in Kashmir were shut for months since the reading down of Article 370. A brief relief cam when the schools opened in February 2020. Well before the resumption of class work could become a serious affair, the first case of coronavirus was detected in Khanyar on March 19. Schools and the rest of life was under lock and key again. As the virtual study mode became a norm, the student community missed again, this time for pathetically low interne speed or the lack of proper cell phone apparatus.
It took a lot of toll of students a well as their parents. Even though the entire political leadership and the civil society appealed very single policymaker in Delhi, the request was not acceded to. The 4G internet was recently restored after 550 days without offering an explanation about the net achievement that world’s longest internet gag resulted in.
According to Anas, self-study helped him a lot besides support from cousins and parents. As the lockdown was eased at the end of August, and tuition centres started to resume activities while adhering to SOP’s, according to Anas the preparations were polished.
I have not taken tuitions till seventh class and it was only after my middle that I was implored to take tuitions. “I also teach students this time also of junior classes like fifth and sixth,” he said.
During summers I was impressed by the initiative of open-air classes by Muneer Aalam, an engineer-turned-teacher from Srinagar. He studied mathematics from his classes.
Besides all the hard work, one needs to consistently do self -study said the topper. “Teacher and tuitions can guide but ultimately it is all up on the student,” Anas said adding that he used to study both online and mostly offline. According to him, there are many educational apps from which students can learn and retain concepts easily.
Rutba Javeed Dar, 16, from Fateh Kadal who topped the exams believes that it is all hard work that paid. She studies at Kashmir Harvard Habbak Naseem Bagh Srinagar. “There were many obstacles that students have had to face while studying. Our schools were shut, there was no in-person contact with teachers, we could clear our concepts, queries,” she said, adding that online education through 2G was a disturbing experience and painful processes. As many students complained of online pedagogy through slow speed especially with subjects like mathematics and science, according to the topper it was clearly impossible to comprehend but we made it.
“I am thankful to teachers who helped us despite the confusion and chaos that prevailed on online classes,” she said. “They showed patience with us.”
According to her, consistently reading and revising was her strategy especially online as she considered online unreliable and painfully excruciating. “I used the phone of every member in the family as I do not own my own,” she said.
The duoare currently studying at Gaash Coaching institute, Zainakadal that Munner Alam runs. While Rutba has opted for PCM (JEE), Anas has decided to study PCMB (NEET AND JEE), their present mentor Munner Alam said.
This year, as students were unable to attend offline classes due to pandemic, and were painfully mired in slow speed internet, the overall pass percentage was recorded at 75 per cent with girls outdoing boys by the slightest margin. The pass percentage of boys stood at 74.04 per cent while the pass percentage of girls was 76.09 per cent. As per JKBOSE figures, as many as 75132 students- 38340 Boys and 36792 Girls had appeared in the exams out of which 56384 students have been declared as qualified. But the morning turned out to be mourning for many as 18626 students were declared as not qualified.
Fifteen students besides Anas and Rutba, shared first position which include Toiba Showkat, Noor‐Us‐Sabah Q, Gousia Farooq, Tayibah Anjum, Ibtisaam Naseer Tahir, Rounaq Dilshad, Tabasum Gulzar, Seerat Bashir, Jazib Javeed, Umer Manzoor, Tabiya Fayaz, Sadaf Rashid, Khujasta Younis, Anas Amin Mir, Suhaib Ahmad Reshi, Aatiq Javed Khan. Also 73 students shared the second position with 498 marks while 13 shared the third position with 497 marks.
The government schools have also fared better this year as 62.76 per cent of students out of a total 41026 who appeared in the examination cleared it. Also, 89.82 students out of 34106 from private education institutes passed the examination.
According to media reports, despite easing out 40 per cent syllabus by the JKBOSE authorities, only a single student each from two Government Higher Secondary schools were able to qualify the matriculation examination in Bandipora district. As per the data accessed by a local news gathering agency, out of 25 students who had appeared for the matriculation examinations from Government Higher Secondary School Panar, not a single student was declared as qualified while out of 11 students who had appeared in the exams from Government Boys High School Kilshy Tulail Gurez of Bandipora, only a single student has been able to achieve success in the aforesaid exams.
Chief Education Officer (CEO), Bandipora, Javid Iqbal, blamed the lockdown due to Covid-19 and lack of internet connectivity in the aforesaid far-flung areas of Bandipora for the poor performance of the students, according to the local news agency.