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Spike in pass percentages for class 9, 11 of Delhi govt schools after revised promotion policy

PUBLISHED ON MAY 29, 2020 05:44 PM IST

New Delhi: In the class 9 results of the 2019-2020 academic year declared Tuesday as per revised promotion policies, government schools in Delhi saw the highest pass percentage in at least five years, data accessed by Hindustan Times has revealed. In class 11, meanwhile, the pass percentage improved from last year’s 84.8% to 96.2% this year.

These figures are significant in light of the fact that the promotion of these students of these classes was based on a revised policy on the subject, outlined by the Directorate of Education as a one-time measure necessitated by the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease crisis as well as the riots which took place in northeast Delhi in February.

Under this formula, the students of these classes who appeared for the exams were allotted grace marks to reach 33%, the passing bar, in the five main subjects. Earlier, a minimum of 25% marks was mandatory in the 60-marks’ annual exam. The revised policy also stated that students who could not appear for their final exams due to the riots or the Covid-19 crisis be given marks proportional to their mid-term results.

Going by the data, at least 64.5% of the 2,79,377 students of Delhi government schools who had appeared for class 9 exams for the 2019-20 academic year have been promoted to Class 10. The total number of students who appeared in class 9 exams this year was 4.4% more than last year, the data reveals.

For class 11, the pass percentage is higher. Out of the 1,65,650 students of Delhi government schools who had appeared for the exams this year, around 96%, or 1,59,283 students, have been promoted. Last year, the pass percentage for class 11 was at 84.8%. The total number of students who appeared for the class 11 exams this year was 24% more than last year, the data reveals.

“Marks are compiled on the basis of exams that were already conducted before the lockdown or the northeast Delhi disturbance. Apart from giving weightage for midterm and internal assessments, a maximum grace of 15 marks is given in one or more subjects together, keeping in view the special circumstances in which the students had to take exam this year,” a senior government official said, asking not to be named.

The students who could not be promoted under this revised promotion policy, however, will be given a chance to reappear in one or any number of subjects in which they could not clear the exam. “That re-examination is likely to be conducted in July 2020, for which the DOE will issue a date sheet soon,” the official cited above added.

Principals across government schools in the Capital, meanwhile, also acknowledged the jump in pass percentage of these classes.

Awadhesh Kr Jha, principal of a government school in Rohini’s Sector 8, said, “We’ve had student-friendly results this time and there has been a marked improvement in results from previous years. Students were also given grace marks keeping the stress of the pandemic in mind. In our school, the pass percentage for class 9 is around 10% better than last year. For class 11, it is even better as only eight students got compartment results. Earlier, this figure used to be 20-30 students.”

However, concerns over how students will perform in board exams next year remains. “We are concerned about how students will perform since they cannot come to school for regular classes. We are hoping to make up for the lost time once the Covid-19 pandemic situation is better so as to maintain the quality of the board results,” Jha said.

The school also plans to write to the education department to recommend classroom teaching for board students in July while maintaining staggered timings and social distancing measures, he said.

“A reduction in the syllabus is actively being considered. So it is likely that the same syllabus won’t have to be covered in a reduced timeframe,” a senior education department official, requesting anonymity, said over the matter.

Earlier in April, Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia had written to the Union minister of human resource development to reduce the curriculum by 30%.

Delhi government schools have been criticised for their poor pass percentages for class 9 in the past, owing to a number of reasons including low-learning levels in primary classes, lack of regular teachers, and the no-detention policy which did not allow schools to fail students until class 8. While the government has introduced certain learning interventions such as the Mission Buniyaad and Chunauti scheme to rectify this, critics say it has done little to improve pass percentage in higher classes.

According to the 2019 Praja Foundation report around 55% of class 9 students of the 2016-17 academic year did not pass their annual exams. The corresponding number for class 12 was relatively lower at 24%, but still a drop of over 36,000 students.

Addressing these concerns, a senior government official, on condition of anonymity, said, “Focus has to be on improving learning levels during primary classes. Class 6 onwards, the lessons get difficult for the child if they don’t have basic foundational learning. This is what Mission Buniyaad is working on.”

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