Noticing that an alarming number of Std IX students are failing to attain enough grades for promotion, the south zone Education Department has sent a circular to all government-recognised schools within their jurisdiction, asking them to send in the marks of their Std IX students for this academic session.
A copy of the circular is with MiD DAY. The south zone education office issued the circular on May 2, asking schools to provide details of the numbers of male and female Std IX students studying in their school, as well as details about how many students had appeared for the Std IX exam and how many had achieved promotion marks.
The number of students failing in Std IX over the last two years has been a cause for worry in city schools. Most parents and students attribute it to the education department’s rule, which makes it mandatory for Std IX students to score 25 per cent marks in the theory part of their mathematics and science papers. On the other hand, school principals are blaming the Right to Education rule which makes it compulsory for all schools to promote students till grade VIII, a rule which they believe is making students lackadaisical and complacent about their academic performance.
The school principals now fear that students in SSC schools, where this rule is soon to be implemented, may suffer similarly. All Std IX students, in order to be promoted, must score 25 per cent marks in the theory section of their math (algebra and geometry) and science papers. Manjur Ahmed, president of the Headmasters Association, said, “I feel that the education department thinks that many students would be failed on purpose by schools, so that all the students from their schools get promoted in the board exams. This is why the education department wants to check the details of Std IX students from all schools.”
A principal from a South Mumbai school said, “It is true that more and more students are failing in Std IX now. This is all because of the rule implemented by the education department, where a child has to score 25 per cent in theory exams. Even if he or she performs well in practicals, they will be failed unless they score the minimum in theory. This rule will be implemented by SSC schools as well this year onwards, and is sure to affect results of their students as well. Maybe schools want cent percent pass percentage for the students who give board exams, so they are holding back all weak students in class IX.”
The parent of student from Queen Mary’s High School, Mumbra, said, “Ninety five students from Std IX failed here. We complained to education officers about this. The schools explained that they failed poor students in Std IX because they want all their students to pass in their board exams.”
Failing students to shut down school?
Last year, about 90 girls failed in Std IX at the New Girls School in Thane (West), after which many parents protested. Worried parents now claim that the school is intentionally failing students, as it wants to shut down the institution. The number of students in the school has been dwindling over the years. From a healthy 1,843 in 2006, the number of students on the register from between Std V and XII has decreased to 862. Four to five divisions in the school have already been shut down. Sadhana Shinde, principal of the school, said, “It is true that about 90 students from Std IX failed last year. The reason why students are performing badly in grade IX is that their mandatory promotion from Std I to Std VIII has made them lazy.” Alhad Joshi, secretary of the People’s Education Society, Thane, said, “We have no plans of shutting down our school immediately. Our divisions are closing down because the parents wish to put their kids in English medium schools rather than our Marathi medium school. AL Misal, education officer of the Thane district, said, “If there aren’t enough students to fill a division, it gets shut down.”
Distribution of marks
Subject Total marks Minimum score
allotted for promotion
Science theory 60 15
Algebra 60 15
Geometry 60 15