For the fourth consecutive year, girls did better than boys in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam, the results of which were declared on Tuesday.
While the pass percentage for girls in Maharashtra was 80.48, it was 73.17 for the boys. It was the same story in 2009 when girls had a pass percentage of 83 compared to the boys’ 73.
In Mumbai, too, girls came up trumps — with a pass percentage of 81.67, they outdid the boys who notched up a pass percentage of 72.39.
This year, almost three lakh students took the exam in Mumbai, while 13 lakh took it across the state. Kolhapur, with 79 per cent of the students passing, had the best results of all the divisions. Until three years ago, Mumbai would lead the eight divisions, but now it stands fourth.
Of the 5,00,723 girls who took the exam across Maharashtra, 4,03,000 passed. In Mumbai, 1,17,159 girls appeared and almost a lakh passed.
“Girls have increased career awareness and career-oriented mindsets now,” said Basanti Roy, a former state board official. “Parents are also far more supportive, whether in urban or rural areas.” Roy pointed out that the enrollment rate of girls in higher education has risen and the dropout rate has fallen.
The results reflect the reducing gap between male and female students. “More girls, especially in smaller towns, are choosing to study after Class 10. This is a very healthy trend,” said state board head Vijaysheela Sardesai.
In Nagpur, more girls (70,816) registered for the HSC exam than boys (69,884). “Girls tend to fare better because they are more serious about their work,” said Dr Kirti Narain, principal of Jai Hind College.
Kalyani Joshi (18) broke all records two years ago when she scored 99 per cent in the HSC exam, the highest score ever. The Latur girl is now studying at BITS Pilani. “Girls are more focused and more ambitious nowadays,” she said.
“Girls care more about how they do… they want to prove themselves,” said Janvi Parikh, of St Xavier’s College, who scored 85 per cent.
‘I always aim for 100 per cent’
Despite going partially blind in Class 9, Aditi Shah (17) of N.L. College, Malad, wanted to prove that visual impairment need not hinder success. The determined girl passed her HSC exams with a score of 91.5 per cent. “I always aim for 100 per cent,” she said on Tuesday, after the results were announced.
A passionate reader, Aditi was always a top ranker in school. In Class 9, she lost part of her vision because of a retinal malfunction. Despite this, she never gave up hope. “My daughter has always worked hard and her efforts paid off,” said Aditi’s proud mother Amita.
Academic success is not new to Aditi — she topped the physically challenged category in her Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam with 92 per cent two years ago. Aditi sought help from Prism Classes at Kandivli. “The teachers came home every day. They would read out my lessons and I would register it all in my head,” said Aditi.
She would also scan notes into the computer, convert them into audio files and listen to them.
Aditi got only four hours to study after college hours. She recorded all her lectures on tape and heard them till she was confident she knew everything. “I wanted to prove that I can do my best. I took my vision impairment as a challenge to achieve what I dreamt of,” she said.
She now plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science (Information Technology) degree and become a software engineer.
— Himabindu Reddy
‘17 years since I last gave an exam’
Swati Ghosh (35) works all day as a maid in Thane. But for the past year, at night, she turned into a student preparing for her HSC exams.
“It was 17 years since I last gave an exam so I was nervous,” she said. “But if you are determined to accomplish something, no one can stop you.”
When the results came out on Tuesday, Ghosh, a commerce student who appeared for the exam as a private candidate, found she had scored 61 per cent. “Now I am resolved to complete my graduation, and my employers are encouraging me to do so,” she said.
In 1991, Ghosh completed Class 11. But she had to leave studies after getting married and having children. Her husband died three years ago and now it’s because of her children that she’s back to the books. “My daughter Swapnali (pictured above right) was studying for her Class 10 exams, so I thought it would be a good idea to give her company by taking the HSC exam.”
It’s a remarkable decision, given that she works during the day, looks after domestic chores at her house in the evening, cooks and puts her son Sahil (pictured above left) to sleep before settling down to study. “There was no one to help me. I have to handle my job, my house, my children,” she said. “But I got a lot of support from my employers, and my tutors.”
— Bhavya Dore
‘Determined not to lose a year’
Aneri Rathod (17) had oxygen and drainer pipes attached all over her body but was adamant about appearing for her HSC examinations in February. The Sydenham College student had to undergo an emergency operation for an obstruction in her intestine on the day she gave her second exam. But thanks to her determination, Aneri successfully got through with 65.66 per cent.
“My college and the board were very cooperative. They helped me cross this great hurdle,” said Aneri on Tuesday, after the results were declared.
Though her family had lost hope about her appearing for the exams this year, Aneri defied the odds by writing them from the hospital. The HSC board provided her with a writer and a policeman, supervisor and exam conductor.
“The only thing that bothered me was the pain. I was determined to give my exams as I didn’t want to lose a year,” she said.
“Aneri agreed to be operated upon on the condition that I let her give the exams,” said her mother Jyoti, a schoolteacher. “Her results were as good as a 100 per cent score for us. It was her willpower that drove her.”
Even the hospital authorities were impressed. “Even my daughter gave the exam this year, so I could really sympathise with Aneri. I was feeling bad that a bright student like her might have to lose a year,” said Sister Brazinha, one of her nurses.
Aneri now plans to pursue a BMS degree from Sydenham and is crossing her fingers that she secures admission.
— Himabindu Reddy