The air was thick with success as students excitedly looked up their Secondary School Certificate (SSC) results on Thursday .
The overall pass percentage in the state went up by eight per cent - from 70.59 last year to 78.91 per cent. In Mumbai, the pass percentage jumped by almost 6 per cent, from 75.02 per cent last year to 80.98 per cent, the highest in five years. Since 2005, the pass percentage in the state has gone up by 20 per cent - from 57.31 per cent to 78.91 per cent.
The state topper, Gaurav Kulkarni, is from Satara. He scored 97.84 per cent. But the euphoria could be shortlived. Educationists said it could lead to an increase in junior college cut-offs by about three per cent.
This year, about 16 lakh students across the state and 2,90,276 in the Mumbai division took the exam. While last year's bright results were because of the 30 grace marks in maths, this year's sparkle owes it to the new syllabus with 20 marks in each subject for internal assessments with oral exams and projects.
"Students have scored well this year because for the first time skills other than the written ones have been evaluated. This is advantageous for those who have good communication and presentation skills," said Basanti Roy, divisional secretary, Maharashtra Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, Mumbai division.
About 699 out of 3,065 schools have got 100 per cent results. Even students of CBSE and ICSE boards have done exceptionally well this year - both boards had toppers who scored 98 per cent. "We are expecting a minimum 2 to 3 per cent rise in cut-offs," said Principal Suhas Pednekar of Ruia College.
In Ruia last year, the first list had a 91 per cent cut-off for Science; now it is expected to be about 94 per cent. "While 2 per cent may seem little, it is substantial because a lot of students fall in the same percentage band," said Principal Naresh Chandra, Birla College, Kalyan. But this jump will not lead to a shortage of seats. "There will be no shortfall in Mumbai.
We have 15,000 additional seats this year. Also, the state is scrutinising proposals for 250 new colleges and 213 additional divisions in existing colleges," said Sheila Tiwari, deputy director of education, Mumbai. There are 1,40,755 junior college seats in Mumbai, 88,640 in Thane and 22,640 in Raigad.
Colleges are worried about the artificial admission crunch. "Already there will be a rise in cut-offs that will percolate to all five lists and students will create a shortage because all of them will want to get into elite colleges," said Kiran Mangoankar, principal, Mithibai College.