Sports is only for failures!

Jan 16, 2012, 07:19 IST | Kranti Vibhute

Parents and students are shocked at the notice passed by the education department, which says that SSC and HSC candidates will be eligible for the 25-mark evaluation in sports only if they fail in a subject

Parents and students are shocked at the notice passed by the education department, which says that SSC and HSC candidates will be eligible for the 25-mark evaluation in sports only if they fail in a subject

For the past few years, young school-going athletes had reason to smile, as the state's education department had earmarked an additional 25 marks for evaluation on performance in sports. But going by a recent diktat issued by the department, it has been quick to snatch away the half-hearted acknowledgement it had extended to sports.

De-grading sports: Parents say such a move will demotivate and
discourage their wards from pursuing sports. Representation pic

A circular issued for students of Stds X and XII says that only those students who fail in one or more subjects in their SSC or HSC exams are eligible for the evaluation. Those who fare well in their exams are not in the ambit of the evaluation. In other words, sports should only be considered important for 'academic failures'.

Outraged by the bizarre GR, parents have cried foul, saying that the resolution reeks of discrimination, and will demotivate and discourage them from pursuing sports.

Though the government passed the resolution on November 30 last year, the information was made public on the education department's website on January 7.

The path to the elusive evaluation is riddled with riders: not only does the child have to have failed in a subject, he has to be an athlete par excellence -- and exclusive to the state of Maharashtra, at that. The notice says that in the event that a child fails in any subject, he is to be evaluated on 25 marks, on the basis of his performance in sports.

Here too, however, there are many conditions -- the child is only eligible for evaluation if he has played district level or state level sports, or represented his school in a state-level competition and emerged a winner or a runner-up. SSC candidates have to be under the age of 17, and HSC candidates under the age of 19 years to enjoy the benefits of the evaluation.

The certificates provided as proof of the child's athletic merit have to be registered by a state-level or district-level sports organisation. Moreover, the student has to have achieved all his sporting credentials exclusively in the state of Maharashtra.

The rule is applicable for SSC and HSC students from the academic session 2012-13.

Students and parents across the city voiced their disapproval of what they thought was a discriminatory and illogical move. Jayam Singh, FYJC student of Thakur College, and an avid athlete, said, "The 25 marks I was graded on for my SSC exam last year benefited me overall percentage. But if they are changing the rules, then I may have to give up my sporting activities and spend more time studying."

Pranay Redkar, FYJC student of Lala Lajpatrai College, said, "I play cricket and coach students as well. It is unfair that the SSC and HSC students who are good in sports will not be marked on 25, unless they fail. Even if the child wishes to play during his exams, parents won't allow him, knowing that he will not be scoring extra marks for it."

Topper Chaitanya Parab, who scored 98.91 per cent in his SSC examination last year, said, "Because of the marks allotted for sports, my percentage went up from 95 to 98.91 per cent. This helped me a lot, but it unsettled the education department, as many candidates got 100 per cent, thanks to the brownie points they scored in sports. Most of the students play sports so that their percentage improves, but cancelling the evaluation will only discourage them from taking a keen interest in sports."

Manan Ved was one of the few students who scored 96 per cent in his SSC exam, but because he had participated in sports, managed to score a full 100 per cent in 2010. His father Gopal said, "If government's intention was to promote sports by allotting 25 marks to it, then why the volte-face? My daughter is appearing for the SSC examination this year. She plays basketball well. The government should withdraw its decision."

Sharad Kalawant, district sports officer Mumbai (suburban), feels that the move will encourage parents to initiate their kids into different sports. "It is not that parents will stop students from participating in sports. In fact, parents with kids who are weak in studies will encourage their kids to take up sports, so that their marks improve."

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