'State should have concrete policy for this additional marks system'

The extra marks have helped a few students get 100%, many have scored more than expected

What concerns me the most at the moment is whether we are doing justice by re-introducing the rule of giving additional marks for participation in sports and art activities. Are we putting those students, who may not be good at playing cricket or kho-kho, at a disadvantage? Eventhough I want to congratulate all those who have passed the SSC with flying colours, what cannot be ignored, are the concerns related to 100 per cent scores. Not only does Maharashtra need a concrete policy surrounding the extra marks given for sports and art activities, it also needs to take a strong stand in the matter, so that every student gets what he/she deserves.

With the additional marks, only few students have got the perfect score. At the same time, it has helped some others to score more than what they expected. It's really great that a student's non-academic achievements are being given so much importance, but if the policy is changed every year, it raises the question whether we're being fair to them.

Moreover, we do not have a system in place to verify the legitimacy of the achievements. Currently, we do have a list of games that are considered for the extra marks, but even then there is much confusion on which associations are legitimate.

As the state has the education and sports portfolio under one ministry, we should take advantage of it to create a concrete policy regarding the additional marks. First, the state has to decide whether it wants to continue with the practice or not. There has been a lot of inconsistency as far as implementing this policy is concerned. In the past, this practice was there for some years, while it was discontinued for some time. This puts parents in a very difficult situation, as they cannot decide whether their wards should continue participating in sports and art activities. Secondly, there has to be a proper regulation in place - starting from the list of games, sport and art activities, which will be considered and the certificates that will hold the highest level of importance.

(The writer is a former Chairperson of Mumbai Division of Maharashtra State Board and former Director of Education, Maharashtra)

- As told to Pallavi Smart

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