CHENNAI: When the Class X public exam results were announced, it was evident that passing has become very passe. The overall pass percentage for 10.6 lakh school children sat at a not-quite-earth shattering 92.9 per cent.
But some subjects like Science saw a mammoth 1.15 lakh centums handed out and as many as 1,069 tenth graders shared the top 3 ranks across Tamil Nadu — a spread so wide and thick that even the teachers on duty at the school education department were a wee bit surprised. As the Director of Government Examinations K Devarajan was reading out the centum haul, one of the teachers asked, “He said fifteen thousand no? Can’t be one lakh, can it?” Turns out it could be, and is.
Continuing the rather startling trend of increasing centums in subjects like Science and even Social Science (History and Geography), the former saw a jump from 38,154 centums in 2013 to 1.15 lakh this year. “The paper was quite easy, no doubt about it, but the syllabus is very simple and the way we were asked to handle the evaluation was quite lenient. Small things like grammatical errors were overlooked and length was not too much of an issue,” explained Vasumathi V, a high school teacher from Pallavaram.
Though happy that 16 of his students had scored centums, Sampath Kumar, tuition guru and retired headmaster said it was a travesty that so many children were given centums. Though happy that 16 of his students had scored centum, Sampath Kumar, tuition guru and retired headmaster, said it was a travesty. “It is worrisome to note that students are getting this many centums because it underscores the fact that the papers are quite easy. This is not good for future analytical thinking and research.” He added, “The tenth boards used to be the first exposure for students to an outside evaluation, but now they are writing it like a unit test. Centums in language and English. Who’d have thought?” It’s only because Tamil teachers showed a wee bit of restraint that the glut of toppers didn’t manage a perfect score. Five students — none of them who had Tamil as their language option — actually managed to score the perfect 500/500. Studying both Sanskrit and French, all of these students hailed from Puducherry, Tirunelveli and Salem. The number of students from Chennai who featured in the top thousand was also on the lower side, with less than 5 per cent making the cut, “This is a bad thing for students because many of them tend to struggle in their twelfth standard exams when they switch to other boards and can’t get a single centum,” said Priya Joseph, a teacher in a private CBSE school in the city.