More than 3.4 lakh students will take the upcoming Class 12 Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams from the Mumbai division, which includes Thane, Palghar and Raigad. This number is 6% more than last year and possibly the highest ever in the exam’s history. The number of exam takers has grown by close to 20,000 this year (as of Thursday) and is expected to rise further as form-17 students complete registrations.
The large numbers can be attributed to the divisional board recording a pass percentage of 86.13% (3, 20,000 students) — it’s highest yet — in the Class 10, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams in 2015, said officials.
Siddheshwar Chandekar, divisional secretary, told Hindustan Times this is the first time the number of HSC exam takers has risen so steeply. “Usually, the number increases by 10,000 students or so, but never at this rate,” said Chandekar.
The number includes 18,000 students who transferred from other boards — ICSE, CBSE and IB —and states — Bihar, Patna, Rajashtan and Goa — after Class 10. “This number has been significant but constant for the past two years,” said Duttatray Jagtap, divisional chairperson.
Student registrations for SSC exams, which begin from March 7, too, have increased, but not as much as HSC. Marking a little over a 3% hike, SSC exam takers have risen to 3,87,041 from 3,73,435 last year. This is a result of more students passing the Class 9 exams, said officials. The education department is pushing schools to bring down the number of students failing in Class 9, in a bid to curb drop-outs.
Another problem is accommodating the increased number of students this year as the board hasn’t been able to add enough exam centres. There are around 520 to 550 centres for HSC students and 900 for their counterparts in SSC exams.
“Firstly, schools don’t have the capacity to seat so many students. A school might seat 1,500 students every day by making them sit three on a bench, but during exams we can only seat 500 as we have to maintain one student a desk to avoid copying,” said Jagtap.
In case some centres receive more students than their capacity, they have been advised to accommodate them in nearby schools and colleges. “Sometimes, a few centres are overrun with students, while turnout is less in others, so the students will be adjusted accordingly,” he said.