The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Success stories, star marks

The Higher Secondary (HS) 2004 top slot may have been bagged by Bankura, but the largest concentration of high performers is still in Calcutta. The city’s schools have produced more first divisions, more star marks and more successful candidates, shows an overall analysis of the 2004 results.

But this, warn educators, should not be taken as an indication that students here are brighter. What it does prove is that the infrastructure in city schools is superior.

This is the first time the Council has published a district-wise break-up of results. Calcutta has emerged on top of the 19 districts in the state, recording a 75.8 per cent success rate.

A total of 30,634 examinees appeared from over 600 HS schools. As many as 23,192 have passed. Of these, 1,356 have secured star marks (80 per cent and above) — the highest strike rate in the state. City students are also on top when it comes to the number of first divisions, with 6,535 examinees scoring 60 per cent and above.

Dibyendu Chakraborty, secretary, West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, says a “quick analysis” shows the success is a result of the “better facilities” available to students here. “This is definitely not an indication that students in the districts are any less intelligent,” he adds.

According to education department officials, facilities like reference books and private tutors are also less accessible to district-based students.

In South Point, of the 479 students who took HS 2004, 447 have scored first division marks, with 12 getting 90 per cent and above. The school topper has got 955 out of 1,000. There are no failures, and 118 students have been awarded 80 per cent and above.

At St Lawrence High School, 196 students wrote the exams, and 146 were placed in the first-division bracket. The top score is 907.

According to Amiya Basu, general secretary of the secondary and higher secondary school teachers’ association, this is evidence of the government’s emphasis on infrastructure development in city schools. “We will progressively see Calcutta schools fare better than those in the districts,” he says. “Some toppers may come from the districts, but overall, they can in no way compete.”

Teachers feel that city students’ better command of English may be another factor for the superiority. “There are more English-medium schools and students are better versed in the language,” feels Ashok Maiti, general secretary of the headmasters’ association.

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