A record number of girls will appear for the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination starting from March 3 across Maharashtra.
The number of girls taking the exam has jumped up by 10.9% in the last two years, in an indication that efforts being made to prevent girls from dropping out of school are bearing fruit.
Out of 17.32 lakh students registered for the exams from nine divisions, more than 7.73 lakh students are girls. The number has increased from 7.60 lakh in 2014 and 6.97 lakh in 2013. The number of boys – 9,59,450 – registered for the SSC exam this year has dropped from 9,67,714 last year.
The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education called it a positive trend.
“We are heartened by the significant rise in the number of girls appearing for SSC exams,” said Gangadhar Mamahane, chairperson of the state board. “This means more girls are continuing their education after Class 8.”
Mamahane said girls have also outperformed boys in the SSC exams over the last few years.
Mumbai division, including Thane and Raigad, has a whopping 3.82 lakh candidates appearing for the exam. To accommodate the huge number of students, the divisional board has increased the number of exam centres to 801, from 318 last year.
“We have created more main centres this year to keep a tighter check on malpractices,” said Laxmikant Pande, divisional chairperson. “Main centres are shouldered with more responsibility than sub-centres, hence they are more accountable.”
However, there could be jostling for space at some centres, which have been assigned more students than their capacity.
“We will have to make two students sit on one bench as we don’t have space to accommodate them all,” said the principal of a school in Kalyan, on the condition of anonymity.
Calls from students suffering exam jitters have flooded the board helpline, but academicians are expecting the exams to be easier this year, as it is the second year with the new syllabus.
“Students and teachers have adjusted to the new syllabus and paper pattern by now, so students will find the exam easier,” said Anjana Prakash, principal, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.