Analyzing Class-XII CBSE results
The results of CBSE Class-XII examination this year have brought out the contradictions ingrained in the presently followed Indian education system. There is, of course no dearth of “bright” students for 72,599 scored 90% or above. What is more, 83.1% of the 11.8 lakh students who took the test have cleared it.
But the other side of the picture emerges whe these students face a harrowing time trying to secure admission to undergraduation courses of their choices. Uncertainty is writ large on their profiles then.
This is most evident during the admission season in the different colleges of Delhi University (DU) for instance. The students and their guardians have to keep on checking the cutoff lists of various educational institutions of the varsity. That the first cutoff lists soared over 99% is not surprising considering the fact that 12,737 students have scored over 95%. The point to be noted is that the CBSE is just one among many other education boardsoperating across the country. On the other hand, almost a crore or so students pass out of these education boards run by the different state governments. While it is not clear whether the consistently rising pass percentages and topper scores are a result of quality improvements or a liberal marking regime, the trends definitely call for proper introspection on the part of the mandarins of education.
The trend is sought to be accommodated by increasing seats and courses in top institutions like DU and IITs. But unlike school education where the private sector has stepped in and is catering to the rising aspirations of the new generation, this has been happening in the sector of higher education also, albeit rather slowly. The reason is the vice-like grip of the UGC and the AICTE.
HOwever, lots can be dont to improve the quality of higher education. The different institutions can be granted more autonomy with respect to fees, students intake, courses and industry partnerships and such a step can reverse the quality stagnation in higher education.
But analyzing Class-XII CBSE results alone may not be adequate to get an overall picture of school education in the country.
For instance, survey results show declining learning outcomes in lower classes and there is very little probability of those students reaching class-XII. It may be recalled that nearly 10 lakh students dropped out of the Uttar Pradesh Board exams after measures were taken to curb cheating. But the CBSE results definitely provide an index that policy makers cannot ignore. For example, some toppers even contemplate going abroad to pursue undergraduate education. These students feel that there is a yawning gap in quality between the foreign and the Indian universities. This underlines the need for reforms in education both at the micro as well as the macro levels to ensure better quality. There is also a need to analyze the focus on goals and performances of Kendriya and Navodaya Vidyalayas and some State government schools. Both public and private education approaches have their tasks cut out.
Satish Kumar Sarma,