The school monitors their diets and sleep schedules. Teachers visit them on weekends to help them with difficult topics. Previous toppers give them pep talks on how to aim high.
Fifteen select Class 10 students of Dombivli’s SV Joshi High School this year are the beneficiaries of these services and more as part of a rigorous training programme that aims to produce board exam stars.
The school, which has turned out toppers for the past 17 years, has refined the training regimen over the years, formalising it last year under ‘Guna Vardhini Yojana’, or ‘Marks improvement scheme’.
“In Class 9, we pick 15 students who undergo training as soon as they enter Class 10,” said principal SB Khaire. “We counsel their parents too.”
Last year’s top two rankers were from this elite set. Since 1992, 15 students from this school made it to the top 20 merit list.
These students have daily extra classes and tests every Saturday. The school helps them plan their study schedules and also calls in experts, including examiners, to talk to them. It gives them tips on how to avoid careless errors.
But is this sort of training healthy? “Those who are not chosen might be demoralised,” said Ambreen Pradhan, a child psychologist. “The programme reflects the country’s examination system, which is one-dimensional and focuses only on performance.”