The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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More write test, fewer pass

The government had instructed schools to allow as many students as possible to write the Madhyamik 2006 examinations. The examinee count appeared impressive till the pass percentage was announced on Friday ' a drop of 5.56 per cent, against last year's figures.

After proudly announcing that a record number of about 140,000 more students were appearing for the examinations this year, the Madhyamik success rate dropped to 64.95 per cent, against 70.51 per cent last year. A total of 751,459 candidates had appeared in Madhyamik 2006, against 615,147 in 2005.

'We will soon convene a meeting with the board officials to look into the reasons for the sharp drop in this year's success rate,' said board president Ujwal Basu.

'Multiple factors are responsible for the poor success rate. We have to identify the reasons soon, so that the results improve in the coming years,' Basu added.

Teachers and school principals, on Friday, attributed the low pass percentage to the government decision of allowing many more students to sit for the exams this time.

'Yes, we (the government) had asked the schools to allow as many students as possible to appear for Madhyamik 2006,' said Kanti Biswas.

The former school education minister said this had been done as the Madhyamik syllabus changes from 2008 and the government wanted as many students as possible to clear the exams before that.

'Those who appeared this year, and those who will take the test next year, have studied the old syllabus,' Biswas said. 'So, we wanted them to clear the exams under the old system as well.'

The 5.56 per cent drop in the success rate has come as a surprise to the Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee government as such a sharp dip has not been recorded in the past 10 years.

A maximum drop of 2.57 per cent in the success rate was recorded in the Madhyamik results of 1998-1999.

Overall, Madhyamik 2006 results showed a slight improvement over last year with respect to the percentage of first divisions. This year, 28.03 per cent students scored first-division marks, compared with 27.05 in 2005. The number of second-division scorers has also crept up.

As in previous years, Calcutta could bag fewer top positions this time. Of the top 10 ranks, city schools bagged only three. The first three positions went to Bankura Zilla School. But the overall performance of students of all top-ranking city schools was 'better' compared with those in the districts.

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