The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Equality eludes HS

Calcutta, June 1: The Bengal education authorities’ attempt to arm higher secondary students with high marks to enable them to compete with their counterparts from other school boards appears to have flopped.

Information available with The Telegraph suggests Sarnajit Chattopadhyay of Bankura’s Bara Chhatra Ramkanai Institution top-scored with 91.8 per cent in the higher secondary examination results announced today.

Those who followed him — Arpita Saha of Rahara Bhabanath Institution for Girls, Mrinmoy Das of Alipurduar Railway High School and Tamaghna Biswas of Calcutta’s Nava Nalanda High School — scored 91.4 per cent, 90.8 and 90.6 per cent, respectively.

(There is no merit list this time, so it is possible someone else may have scored higher marks, of which we are not aware.)

In contrast, the top scor-ers in this year’s ISC and CBSE Class XII exams notched up 98.75 per cent and 96.2 per cent.

Last year, the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education ushered in a string of measures to provide a level playing field to its students.

Forget the board’s flop show, though. Sarnajit just wants to savour the moment. “I am thrilled, my hard work has paid off.”

Although there were fewer students scoring in the 90s, or even in the 80s, than in previous years, the council said it was “happy” with the overall success rate of 73.77 per cent, up 1.95 per cent over last year.

“Scores of above 80 per cent have been noted only in about three per cent of them,” said the secretary of the council, Debashis Sarkar.

“We have to find out the reason for this.”

Among the measures the council had taken were splitting the two-year course and conducting the examination only on the Class XII syllabus; changing the syllabus with the ISC and the CBSE as models; and introducing more objective-type questions.

“Any new system has teething problems and it will take some time to understand how best students can benefit,” council president Gopa Dutta said.

anticipating higher scores, Calcutta University had asked colleges to scrap the practice of deducting marks of ISC and CBSE candidates at the time of admission to bring them on a par with the “more strictly marked” higher secondary students.

As a result, higher secondary students may face stiffer competition in getting admitted to colleges of their choice this time.

Ashutosh College principal Debabrata Choudhury said: “We have no choice but to treat all equally.”

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