The bored exams: students aren’t taking their HSC seriously

Burning the midnight oil: Students prepare for their exams at Ram Mandir.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

For a section of students and their parents in Maharashtra, the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams have become less important than various national common entrance tests.

These tests all but delink Class XII results from the admission criteria; a student need only get a minimum score in specified subjects — for example, for medicine, 50% in physics, chemistry, and biology — so they don’t study hard for the Boards.

Teachers complain of lack of interest from students and absenteeism. Anil Deshmukh, a Physics professor, and president of the Maharashtra Federation of Junior College Teachers Organisation, says that the state has ignored recommendations from various committees, and even an order of the Supreme Court, which want Board results to be considered along with entrance exam scores. “The state has completely sold out to the coaching classes lobby.”

“Every single thing taught in [HSC] is useful and is a foundation for a higher concept,” says Sangeeta Kohli, Principal of S.K. Somaiya College, and students are too young to realise this and coaching classes ignore it in pursuit of high marks. “The academic collapse in the initial years of engineering colleges that shows in the large number of ATKTs [allowed to keep terms] could be tracked to a lack of clarity in basic concepts.”

‘Backup option’

Sudha Shenoy, co-founder of Parents League of Aspiring Students for Medical Admissions, says that since it doesn’t matter whether students score 90% or 50% in the Boards, they focus on the entrance exams. Plus, she says, “Entrance exams have short multiple-choice questions; board exams require long theory-based answers.”

Sahana Vaidya, another parent, says, “The board has at best become a backup for students.” Only those who want to do degrees or apply to foreign universities need to take them seriously, she says. Prof. Kohli thinks it’s tough for students to study for both Boards and entrance tests. Ms. Vaidya agrees: “One wonders why the State board can’t align its Class XII syllabus with that of the CBSE.”

Another factor is the short gap between exams. Ms. Vaidya says, “It’s stressful for students to appear for different exams with different patterns in just two months.” Eunice Jennifer, who is preparing for a fashion designing course, says the boards are “just a backup, in case of a tie where they might ask for the Class XII scores.”

On the eve of his Class XII exams, Jared Monteiro admits that he has not studied as sincerely as he did for his SSC. “For the past two years, I have been preparing for my NEET. I barely attended college. I went recently only for help from teachers on how to write long answers.”

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 8:37:46 PM |

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