Zeenat Mahal Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Jafrabad, is an unlikely star in the Class XII success scripted by government schools.
It has registered an 8 pc increase in its pass percentage this year.
On the face of it, it may not seem like such a huge achievement. But once you consider the odds, the success story becomes clear. Ninety-eight per cent students of this school have passed this year.
To start with, it is an Urdu-medium school. Such schools were on the downslide for a while. Secondly, Zeenat Mahal is a girls’ school located in a poverty-ridden area where earning a living becomes more important than education. In the last 3 years, the school has become increasingly popular, with close to 4,000 students studying in space meant for 2,000.
“We don’t have enough space for all our students. Classes are sometimes held in the corridors,” laughed principal Razia Begum.
Despite the odds, the 209 students of the school who appeared for Class XII have managed 286 distinctions, 121 have first division marks and 12 have scored above 90 per cent marks.
Encouraged by the schools' improving results, local politicians have tried to push in boys, but the principal has held steadfast.
“I told them boys could travel an extra kilometer. But for girls it might be the end of the road if they don't get admission,” said Begum, one of the direct appointees as principal, handpicked by the education department.
Begum has taught in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas and said she had never had to deal with a similar situation before.
“Problems here are socio-economic. I motivate them with examples of my own life, my struggle,” she said.