Talking to Education Times, on what accounts for the low pass percentage of private and patrachar students, Sanyam Bhardwaj, controller of examinations, CBSE, says, “There are two categories of students appearing for the compartment exams: The regular candidates who were not satisfied with their marks and were taking the exam for reasons of improvement, and the private and patrachar candidates who had decided to appear for the compartment exams without seeking re-admission as regular candidates in the formal schooling system. While all the regular candidates have cleared their papers without any reduction in marks, the same cannot be said of the private and patrachar candidates, considering their scope was limited. Teachers in regular schools had worked hard to provide online, offline and even remedial classes to the regular students, but that was not the case with private and patrachar candidates.”
Their performance has no co-relation with the pandemic whatsoever, adds Bharadwaj, as statistics have been almost the same, year on year.
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“The CBSE datesheet released in August 2021 provided ample gaps between each paper and the exam environment was conducive — with 12 students accommodated in one classroom while maintaining social distancing — to help them perform better,” Bhardwaj reasons.
On whether it was fair to conduct the Compartment exams in the offline mode considering majority of the board exam students were evaluated on the basis of an Internal Assessment Policy without having to go through the rigours of physical examinations, Bharadwaj says, “The Board had announced compartment exams would be conducted as soon as conditions were conducive, so it was not as if prior intimations were not given.”
“For regular candidates, it was only towards the last leg of their preparations, that the Board exams were cancelled, and even then, they had to appear for the preboards with some level of preparation,” Bhardwaj says.
Dismissing the possibility of an internal assessment for private and patrachar students, he reasons that the Policy for regular candidates was driven not by choice but by circumstances. “In case of private and patrachar candidates, an internal assessment was out of the question as it comprises periodic tests, mid-terms and preboards, all of which are conducted in the normal schooling system.”
He explains further that private and patrachar candidates have access to the same syllabus, books and sample question papers (uploaded on the CBSE website) as regular candidates, in which case, the 33% pass criteria should not be a herculean task. “In the absence of adequate internet access in the remote interiors, candidates can take the help of cyber cafes and common service centres to download the sample question papers. Tuitions to pass the subjects is not a must unless the student plans to take competitive exams.”
Majority in numbers
The compartment exams for class XII were conducted for English core, Physical Education, Business Studies, Accountancy, Chemistry, Political Science, Biology, Economics Sociology, IP, Computer Science, Maths, Hindi elective and core, Geography, Psychology, Home Science, Physics and History subjects, all of which are considered major subjects with greater number of students to help them seek college admissions. Marks for subjects not included in the list were given basis the mean of two or three best performing subjects, Bhardwaj informs.
As for the relatively better performance of the private and patrachar students in class X compartment exams in which total 11,937 private and 213 patrachar students have passed out of the 28,847 private and 445 patrachar students who took the exams, Bharadwaj clarifies, “It is easier to score better marks in class X than XI or XII where the standard is higher and the syllabus more extensive.”