Approximately 35 lakh students enrolled in Class 10 in 2021-2022 did not progress to Class 11, according to an analysis exercise carried out by the Ministry of Education (MoE). Of these 35 lakh students, 27.5 lakh failed, and 7.5 lakh students did not appear for the Class 10 examinations.
While the failure rate of students in Central Boards, including the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) is as low as 5%, it can be as high as 16% in State Boards.
Sanjay Kumar, Secretary (School Education), MoE, said that the significant variance in syllabus taught in different Boards, especially related to Physics, Chemistry and Biology, creates barriers for national-level common tests, including Common University Entrance Test (CUET), Joint Entrance Examination (JEE), and the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET).
Responding to a query from The Hindu on Tuesday, Mr. Kumar said that the MoE has now requested data from the National Testing Agency on students that qualify for the NEET, and the Ministry wants to analyse students of which Boards perform well in NEET, or secure better ranks.
Of the 35 lakh students who fail or are unable to appear in the Class 10 exams, only 4.5 lakh students appear in exams through National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), and there too the failure rates range between 47% to 55%.
“There are a large number of students who are slipping through cracks after Class 10 and very few of these are going for open schooling. This missing cohort can be caught for skilling them or increasing open schooling enrolments,” the MoE official said.
Analysis of State-wise data on students passing and failing in Class 10 and 12 exams by the MoE reveals that results of students studying across up to 60 State Boards in India vary considerably from one State to another. “There is no level playing field for students in terms of standard and movement across the Boards,” Mr. Kumar said.
Only 11 States contribute to 85% dropouts, or nearly 30 lakh students. They are Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Assam, West Bengal, Haryana and Chhattisgarh.
The purpose of analysing results across Boards is to standardise Board exams as recommended by the National Education Policy, 2020 for which the MoE is also setting up a National Assessment Centre — PARAKH — as a standard-setting body.
The analysis reveals, Mr. Kumar further said, that the percentage of students passing in Class 10 in Meghalaya is as low as 57%. In Madhya Pradesh, it is 61%, while in Jammu and Kashmir, it is 62%. “For States like Punjab, for instance, it is as high as 97.8%. In Kerala, the passing rate is 99.85%. We would like to believe that students across States are bright, and given equal opportunities, can excel,” Mr. Kumar said.
State Boards have fewer trained teachers (12 lakh), and there are an average of 10 teachers per school. The MoE’s experts have recommended focussed attention be given to training subject teachers and more recruitment. “Open schools need to catch up and reforms are needed in open school exams. 7.5 lakh students who are not appearing for exams might be potential candidates for skill-based training and can be retained in the education net,” Mr. Kumar said.