MUMBAI: At least 39 athletes achieved the perfect score in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination this year in the state, the results of which were announced on Monday. One of them was Tanaya Wadkar, 15, from Sawantwadi, Sindhudurg district, secured 100% all thanks to her rifle-shooting skills.
Overall pass percentages in both the state and Mumbai division, however, dipped, with fewer students scoring in the nineties in the city owing to stringent internal assessment marking this year. Of the 17.19 lakh students, who appeared for the exam across the state, only 14.8 lakh cleared the exam, with the success rate dipping from 86.4% to 85.6%. The Mumbai division recorded a fall from 86.13% to 85.6% this year, emerging fifth in the state. Even the performance of fresh candidates (those who are appearing for the first time) dropped from 93% to 91.1% this year.
Wadkar, who had scored 97% in the SSC exams, bagged an additional 15 marks for participating in a school-level rifle-shooting tournament organised by the sports department in November last year in Amravati. This drove her percentage up by 3% to a perfect 100%. The board said they were not aware of any other student scoring 100% marks. A student of Kalsulkar English High School, Wadkar had taken up shooting only in Class 9. “I continued my training in Class 10 as well. I would wake up at 5.30am every day to study before going to practice shooting and then later cram in a few lessons at midnight as well,” said Wadkar, who wants to get into the IAS.
Although students excelling in sports benefitted from the sports marks scheme, which made a comeback this year, the overall pass percentages of both the state and Mumbai division, including Thane, Raigad and Palghar, dipped by a few points. Across the state, the Mumbai division stood fifth among nine divisions; Konkan division had the highest success rate, with 96.56%, while Latur division had the lowest at 81.54%.
Like the HSC exams, experts attributed the fall to new rules of internal assessments. “In science practicals, we had made external examiners compulsory and for other subjects had warned schools against inflating marks,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. “This has brought down the results to some extent.” Interestingly, while the number of students scoring in the nineties rose across the state, in the Mumbai division, it dipped from 12,100 to 11,416 this year. On the other hand, more students bagged distinctions and first class and fewer scored below 45%.