From the academic year 2015-16, securing 35% in the written and oral exams will not be enough for Class 9 to Class 12 students to pass in a subject. Students will have to get at least 20% in their written exam and have an aggregate of 35% to pass.
The rule will be applicable to Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) exams to be held in February-March 2016. For Class 9 and Class 11, it will come into effect from the academic year beginning June 2015.
Currently, students have to secure an aggregate of 35 out of 100 marks in the written and practical exams to pass. While the written exams in SSC and HSC are assessed by the board, practicals are assessed by the school or college. This was leading to students passing even if they performed poorly in written exams, as schools and colleges would mark students generously in the practicals.
Hoping to put an end to this malpractice, students will be additionally required to secure minimum 16 marks in an 80-mark written exam.
“The state government has recently passed the order and schools, colleges will receive circulars soon,” said Gangadhar Mahamane, chairman of the state board. “We had proposed to keep 25% as minimum passing marks in the written exams, but state government lowered it to 20%.”
Academicians said the new criteria will increase the number of students failing as the conditions will make it tougher for students to clear certain subjects.
In 2012, the state had made it mandatory for Class 9 and Class 11 students to score 25% marks in their written exams in maths and science. But the rule was withdrawn as large numbers of students were unable to score the minimum marks and thus failed.
“This rule will be dangerous as the pass percentage of students will drastically fall,” said Najma Kazi, principal, Anjuman-I-Islam’s Saif Tyabji Girls High School, Byculla.
The board is following the footsteps of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). In CBSE, students are required to score minimum 25% in written exams in Class 9, and 33% in Class 10 to Class 12.
The new rule could especially affect students with special disabilities. “Students with learning disabilities struggle to score in theory exams, as they are unable to write,” said Meenakshi Walke, principal of IES Sule Guruji Vidyalaya, Dadar. “CBSE has separate passing percentage, but they also have many concessions for students.”