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Why country cousins top in JAC

- If best city students pick Delhi boards, rebel hubs are studying hard too

Jharkhand Academic Council’s intermediate results in commerce and science, out on Saturday, indicated two broad trends.

One, the 63.65 and 75.83 per cent success rates in science and commerce this year showed a decisive academic resurgence compared to last year’s 38.28 and 70.55 per cent.

Second, underdeveloped and often rebel-hit districts outshone cities such as Ranchi, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, Bokaro and the like, a trend witnessed in both JAC matriculation and intermediate exams, when the same elite urban pockets showed superlative results in CBSE and ICSE.

If in matriculation, Giridih topped with a success rate of 85.84 per cent and Palamau at 77.63 per cent was among the top five, intermediate science and commerce results too had rebel-hit Palamau and Pakur districts as top scorers.

Ranchi came sixth among districts in commerce and 10th in science.

Why do cities that do so well in CBSE/ICSE exams fare badly in JAC boards?

Academic and former pro-VC of Ranchi University V.P. Sharan gave two reasons.

“In urban and semi-urban centres, the state board is usually the last preference for best students. In remote districts, no other option but the state board is available. Secondly, better pass percentages in Naxalite areas such as Pakur, Chatra and the like are proof that youngsters have realised the value of studies,” he said.

Former academic and JAC chairman Anand Bhushan had a different view.

“It is difficult to pinpoint the reason (why JAC results are better in less-privileged districts), but if less affluent districts perform well, it may be an indication of greater commitment in students and teachers there,” he said.

HRD minister Geetashree Oraon and MLA from Sisai, under Lohardaga Lok Sabha seat, said Lohardaga district stood sixth in science.

That’s ahead of Ranchi, Bokaro and Dhanbad.

“It is no rocket science to understand education infrastructure is less in rural districts compared to urban centres. So, amid all odds if pass percentage is higher in such districts, I can only say students are more inclined towards studies there. Also, since I hail from those parts, I know people there are generally very talented but need the right push,” she said.

A senior education department official with experience of working in urban and remote districts, however, had an interesting observation.

“Strictness and transparency are less while conducting exams in rural areas,” he said.

Does that mean remote and Naxalite-hit areas are more prone to unfair means?

“I don’t entirely deny students in remote areas are becoming more serious and ambitious today for better results. But since I have worked in various places, I want to point out that transparency is more in urban areas than rural. The kind of strictness with which exams are conducted in cities is not the same in Palamau, Godda or Pakur. That’s because of practical challenges,” he said.

When informed, HRD minister didn’t rule out the possibility completely.

“It’s a good point and we have to evaluate and analyse the trends. Having said this, one can’t say that good percentage in remote districts is the outcome of unfair means alone,” she said.