Mathematics and English influenced this year's SSC results
The results of the S.S.C. exams of 2008 came out on June 26, with the highest pass percentage and number of GPA-5 holders ever achieved. The results have created much enthusiasm in the country in general and the educational arena in particular. At the same time, they have provoked some questions as well.
The results were published under the grading system introduced in 2001, and showed a tremendous rise in pass rate -- 70.41 in the general education boards and 72.18 in the combined general, madrasa and technical boards -- with an increase of 13.82 percent from last year. The following factors can be attributed to this year's upward trend:
Setting English and Mathematics questions with much care. Easy questions were set;
Being liberal in examining the scripts;
Taking steps for ensuring due marks to students;
Steps to penalise the schools with poor performance;
No serious political turmoil stood in the way of students' normal functions and activities;
No political or local pressure to send the irregular and failed students in the test examination to public examination;
Students' and guardians' rising awareness about education;
No scope to adopt unfair means in the examination has made the students more sincere and attentive to studies;
Imparting training to teachers, both in the government and non-government institutions.
The following features surface in this year's SSC results.
GPA-5 holders increase by 13.88%;
Pass rate increases 13.44% from last year;
Pass percentage in Mathematics and English increased 10 percent in all the boards;
Pass percentage increased but the number of students was 50 thousand less than the previous year;
Boys' pass percentage is 73.69 and girls' 70.45;
The number of zero percentage schools has decreased from 248 to 91;
The number of hundred percent pass schools increased from 778 to 2272;
Science students marked a significant progress with 84.32 pass percentage, humanities 59.85
In the capital city the pass rate stands at 88.12.
The education advisor said about the results: "The increase in pass rates has continued gradually since 2001, which proves that education standard is improving." Last year, 3763 students obtained 78 and 79 marks in Bengali, English, Mathematics, Higher Mathematics and Physics.
This year, those who obtained such marks were awarded full 80 marks to increase the number of GPA-5 holders. Low performing schools were given show cause notice first, which was followed by cancellation of MPO, and this step worked well to change the results, claimed the education adviser.
Apparently, it demonstrates that the standard is improving, but is there room for complacence? This global village gets tougher day by day, where only quality talks and quantity receive less importance.
Eminent educationalist Prof. Serajul Islam said: "A germ has already entered our society. Education has turned into a commodity where investment gets priority. For this reason students of urban areas perform better in SSC."
Last year, CAMPE conducted a research, which revealed that 88 percent students of government school had private tuition, whereas it was 78 percent for non-government school students. Educationists say: "Capitalism has engulfed the country's education system, where students backed by solvent families achieve glorious results while rural students from poor families struggle to obtain even pass marks as their schools cannot provide quality education. The non-uniformity in our education sector seriously surfaces through this year's SSC results."
Professor Zafar Iqbal has rightly said: "This year's results make it clear that education is accessible mainly to the rich and to those living in the urban areas. Government's willingness is the only way to come out of this cycle. Of course, this disparity is widening every year but nobody seems to be bothered about it."
In spite of record-breaking results this year around three lakh students, mostly from rural areas, failed in English or Mathematics -- or in both. Examiners were highly liberal in awarding marks this year, but they failed in two major and important subjects.
It was also alleged that twelve lakh students got registered in class nine whereas only six lakh appeared in the examinations in general education boards, the rest dropped out of the schools. Quite a dismal picture, indeed. Penury and social disparity compelled them to leave school. Who bothers about their fate and future?
Rural schools suffer serious dearth of English and Mathematics teachers, resulting in very poor performance in the public examinations. Brac has taken some pragmatic initiatives to address these issues. Training for English and Mathematics teachers, remedial support for rural SSC candidates, and RAISE (Remedial Assistance In Strengthening English) support for class ten students so that they can show better results in the test examinations and can be allowed to sit in greater numbers for public examinations.
Special model tests are arranged under these remedial and RAISE programs, as village students cannot afford to take special tests in the coaching centres or from private tutors, like urban students.
In Brac, training, along with the test items, has been incorporated. Not only that, writing different kinds of answers in the examinations are practically demonstrated in the training sessions so that the village teachers can deal with different test items in a classroom situation.
Teaching grammar communicatively is another significant side of Brac training. At the government level also training has been taken as an essential part of teaching and many teachers have been trained under different government projects, which produced positive results in the public examinations.
Both government and non-government interventions are the prime factors to narrow the gap between rural and urban education standard, which is widening gradually. We cannot afford to deny the fact.