90% no longer an impossible dream as HSC students ace exams

Student scores soar to 95% and beyond this year in the HSC results, but educationists warn this puts too much focus on marks alone

The report card is out and it’s a bit of a mixed bag for HSC students. While many students have fared extremely well, their scores soaring to 95% and beyond, it looks like the general performance has slipped, as the average percentage has dipped by 4.66% this year.

As the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education declared the Higher Secondary Certificate results online yesterday, many students were no doubt thrilled to see they had managed to get into the coveted ‘90+ club’.

Dr Shobana Vasudevan, principal of RA Podar College was thrilled with the result and thinks that the trend of higher marks is an example of how competition is increasing. “It is great to see how our college’s result is going higher every year with the top rankers scoring higher and higher,” she said.

But not all school principals were as happy, as they felt that this was putting undue focus on marks. Besides, this year, several HSC students could be at a disadvantage because the overall or average score slid down to 86.6% — which means that the majority of this batch has scored lower than last year’s batch (average 91.26%).

Dr Madhavi Pethe, principal of Dahanukar College, said, “It is a rising concern that students’ percentages are soaring. Holistic development is more important, but in reality, only marks are given importance in college admissions.”

“We see students scoring higher each year. It feels like the competition is not among students but between different boards,” said Dr Ashok Wadia, principal of Jai Hind College.

Identical in every way
Meet the identical twins who got identical scores — Nikki and Binti Sahni have always drawn curious looks for their uncanny similarity, but fellow students at RA Podar College are truly amazed by the fact that they even got matching scores!

“We checked and verified more than once to be sure of the marks. At first, we thought there was some mistake when we saw the identical marks,” said their elder sister, Anushka. In fact, not only was their total score exactly the same, but even individual scores in certain subjects were identical.

The girls, both Commerce students, have already started preparing for chartered accountancy exams together.

Nikki and Binti have always studied together. “We are both equals and love to study together,” said the twins.

Top tip: “We used to plan to finish the curriculum as early as possible,” said Binti, cautioning students that there is simply no point in taking stress. Instead, focus on completing the syllabus, she advised.

Against all odds

Hrishikesh Haligouda: 73.38%
Hrishikesh Haligouda may suffer from 90% disability, but he more than made up for it with 100% hard work to ace the HSC exams. But his parents also get a large share of the credit — the Koparkhairane resident cannot walk because of a condition called rickets, and his father carried him on his shoulders so he could get to the exam centre each day.

This student of Karmavir Bhaurao Patil College (Vashi) has already spent his summer vacation doing a computer course. “Along with a degree education, this computer course will help me secure a government job,” he said. His mother Jyoti added, “He might be suffering from 90% disability, but he is always optimistic and happy and strives to do better.”

Top tip: “There is no option but hard work and there is no point in taking stress of any kind.”

Sonal Shinde: 75%
Sonal Shinde suffers from a medical condition that stopped her hands from growing after a certain age, leaving her unable to write exams on her own. The fact that she aced the exam despite this problem is a testament not just to her efforts but also to the fact that students with disabilities now have a more level playing field, with concessions such as being allowed writers.

“I was allotted a writer for the papers. I feel it is important that there is more awareness around issues faced by people with disabilities, so that we have an equal platform to progress,” said the student from RA Podar College, who is yet to decide what career she will choose — her plans range from a banking job to the civil services.

Top tip: “Dream big, but there is no shortcut to hard work. I have seen my mother and sister struggle to provide our family with necessities. I want to do my share now.”

Nikhil Bhalerao: 73.85%
When Nikhil was just a year old, his left eye had to be removed due to retinoblastoma, a rare malignant tumour in the retina. From his right eye, he can see partially when there is strong sunlight. But this hardly means that Nikhil lacks vision.

Elated with his HSC marks, this Ruia College student now dreams of making a career in the media industry and has set his heart on joining a mass media course.

“It is not very easy to study because the only audio books available to us are textbooks, whereas other students have so much more study material. In my college, there is an entire section dedicated to blind students and there are many volunteers who come forward to help. But they are students themselves, and have limitations,” said Nikhil.

Top tip: “Don’t look at studies as a burden. If we take interest, nothing is impossible.”

Two-time topper

Vaibhav Hariharan: 96%
Vaibhav Hariharan knows a thing or two about topping. Not only has he scored 96% in the HSC exams this year, but this Commerce student from RA Podar College in Matunga had also notched a near-perfect score (a staggering 99.6%) in the Std X CBSE results.

“I was expecting a good score above 90% but this has certainly come as a surprise. Marks are not the ultimate thing in life, but it is important to immerse yourself with complete dedication in whatever you are doing,” said Vaibhav, who wishes to become a chartered accountant and is already preparing for the entrance examinations.

Top tip: “My motto was to study consistently till the last day, instead of last minute preparations. I studied 2-3 hours daily, made my own notes for effective revision and solved several practice papers. Music also helped me relax during preparations,” said the Dombivli resident, who has also been a student of Hindustani classical music for the last 10 years.

Report card

Overall percentage this year: 86.6%

Overall percentage last year: 91.26%

Average score slips by: 4.66%

Candidates who registered: 13,21,821

Candidates who appeared: 13,19,754

Candidates who passed: 11,42,882

Passing percentage: 86.08%

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