Obtaining sports grace marks to get tougher from next year

From next year onwards, students could face difficulties while sending applications to the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE) requesting 25 grace marks under the sports quota, as the board will make it mandatory for all certificates to be signed by the Directorate of Sports and Youth Services, Pune and “other genuine sport bodies”.

According to board officials, interested students will have to get their certificates signed by their respective school principals, which would prevent other students from submitting bogus certificates merely to avail the 25 grace marks. The state education board last week announced that it would grant 25 grace marks to only those students who have excelled in sports, but have failed in their SSC exams. This will be the last year the state board will grant 25 marks (4.17%) to students under the sport quota.

Quite a number
According to MSBSHSE chairman, Sarjerao Jadhav, on average the board receives around 22,000 applications from students seeking grace marks immediately after the results are announced.

“We receive 2,000 to 3,000 applications from students applying for grace marks everyday. We found lots of mismanagement and have now decided that only those state level awardees shall be eligible for the grace marks, Jadhav said.

Education activists and students opine that their interest and desire to take up sports as an extracurricular activity will reduce and this might have a negative impact on budding sportspersons.

Educationists have written to the state education department saying that though they have no objection with the government’s move to quash the quota, but they want sports to be given preference as students who are interested in taking up sports as their career will be at a loss.

No objection
“We don’t have any objection to the move, but there are students who submit bogus certificates in order to gain extra marks. What about the students who take up sports, but are unable to perform up to the mark? Sports should be given preference and everything should be balanced,” said Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education.

Though the board has not released the number of students who scored 100 per cent, sources say roughly 1,200 students were eligible for the grace marks under the sports quota in this year’s batch. “Only six to seven per cent of total students participate in sports along with their regular subjects. The government should upgrade its system and make it more centralised. Students should not be discouraged from playing sports at any cost and some benefits should be given to them,” said L Rajputa, principal of M H School. 

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