KOCHI: The days of students scoring 95-plus marks in Class 10 and Plus-Two in the Kerala state board examinations may become a thing of the past once the state government implements the Union Ministry for Human Resource and Development (MHRD) order on discontinuing awarding of grace marks as directed by the Kerala High Court.
However, it is to be seen whether the government will implement it within four months as directed by the High Court or go in for an appeal. General Education Secretary A Shahjahan said, “Since the government is yet to receive the judgement, no decision has been made as of now. We need to study court directives.”
The High Court, in an order on Wednesday, directed the state government to do away with the practice of awarding grace marks, stating that even the most meritorious students studying in the CBSE and ICSE streams lose out to those passing out from state syllabus schools while seeking admissions in undergraduate courses.
As of now, the grace marks being awarded to the students for their participation in various extracurricular programmes like National Service Scheme (NSS), National Cadet Corps (NCC), Bharat Scouts and Guides, Student Police Cadet (SPC), Bala Sasthra Congress, School Youth Festival, school sports and games competition, Sargolsavam and other state and national-level achievements have been a big blessing for the academically weak students. According to a teacher, who wished not to be named, the percentage of grace marks depends on the programme.
“At present, students, who are members of NSS in the higher secondary section, are awarded two per cent of the aggregate marks. So, it would be two per cent of 1,200, which will be 24 marks. These marks get added to the total marks of the student,” he said. In the case of Vocational Higher Secondary Education (VHSE), the aggregate marks are 1,600. So, two per cent of that would be 80.
According to him, the percentage goes even higher if the student has taken part in national-level events like the Republic Day parade or quiz competitions and science fairs. “The grace marks range from five to 15 per cent for national-level events. If the student has won prizes in international events, then the grace marks go up to 20 per cent of the aggregate score,” he said.
“It is huge. All these marks are what actually attract the students to such activities,” said Sreedevi P K, a government school teacher. According to her, even if a student fails in three subjects out of six, he or she gets pass mark thanks to the moderation given during evaluation. “Add the grace marks from all activities he or she has participated. Voila! The student sails through easily and that too with really good marks,” said Sreedevi.
“Many teachers have been protesting against the trend. This is an unjust system. We are doing injustice to those students who study hard,” she said. Of course, students need to be rewarded for their extracurricular activities, she added.
“Give them merit points -- something that is not added to their exam scores. It was the practice in the past. Even CBSE does that for its students when it comes to applying for higher education courses,” she said.