With junior college admissions delayed third year in a row, Hindustan Times speaks to Basanti Roy, former secretary, SSC board, Mumbai division.
Are SSC students at a disadvantage vis-à-vis students from other boards?
Yes. Even SSC students, on the merit list find it hard to getinto top colleges. They have increasingly been at a disadvantage.
Why does this happen?
There are a few prestigious colleges in Mumbai. The competition is between the top students of the different boards to get into these. This is an issue only in Mumbai, not the rest of the state. Over time, the numbers of ICSE schools and students have increased, which is why top performing SSC students face problems. Though there are more ISC schools now, those students still prefer to go to junior colleges. This problem doesn't arise in other states because students from all the boards continue in school till Class 12.
What is a possible solution?
Instead of these trial and error methods there should be an expert committee which can come up with a proper strategy so that prestigious colleges can be identified and an entrance test conducted. Or the Best-Five policy be applied to students from all boards, but based on the same subjects: two languages, science, maths and social
Do you think that the other boards mark more leniently?
No comments on that. But the SSC board has taken some measures for its students, such as introducing internal assessment.
Does the government have a stronger case this year?
No comments. We will have to wait and watch. However, more homework could have been done before the policy.
Does this tussle between the boards have the element of a class war too?
Unconsciously perhaps it takes that shade of classes versus masses. ICSE education is expensive. The textbooks are costlier, the fees are higher. Automatically the middle class ends up in SSC schools.
Does the board need to evolve to the level of the other boards?
There is a huge variety that the SSC board caters too. There are urban and rural students. When the board introduces any changes it needs to think of all these factors and strike a balance.
Are students at the mercy of the government of the day?
Definitely. Constantly changing policies are upsetting. But I am hopeful.