June 9, 2009

Children of Lesser Boards

90% of the seats for Junior Colleges in Maharashtra are going to be reserved for SSC students!
Not 30% ... or even 50% ... but a whole, walloping 90% ! Outrageously unfair!

Apparently the state education ministry feels that the SSC students need a very strong push because their marks are not as high as that of students from other Boards.

Hmmm.... I know how much the ICSE student has to study because my son just wrote that exam. And I've seen some of the books studied by his friends in SSC schools. The SSC books and the depth which the syllabus seems to skims through is barely a fraction of that which my son had to study in the same class.

After fretting, sweating and slogging the whole year, cutting down on sports and other activities, and nearly turning purple in the face with the amount of studying done, if my ICSE boy gets better scores than his SSC friend (who already has the advantage of having less to study), then does he really have to be punished for it?

So... the marking system in ICSE system makes it easier for the students to score high. Well, what's stopping the SSC Board from adopting a similar system? Change the system, don't penalise the students who chose to follow another system.

Reports in the newspapers quote parents of SSC students claiming that the marks given by the other Boards are "abnormally high". Really? Well, I find the amount of studies covered by an SSC student in comparison with that of an ICSE student, is equally unfair!

On the one hand, you have the ICSE Board which forces the students to study tons and tons of stuff (which I've grumbled about before) and prepare projects and submit assignments in each subject. For these projects they are assessed internally for a maximum of 20 marks. No, they're not just freely 'given' those marks. They do have to work for it, only not in a question & answer form.

On the other hand, you have the SSC Board which covers far less portions in the syllabus, prescribes easier textbooks and offers a much easier job of studying but the marking is rather strict, from what I've heard.

So where is the inequality for the SSC student? Doesn't it all even out in the end?

Incidentally, I do not for a single minute think that the SSC students are less intelligent or capable than their counterparts in ICSE, CBSE or IB schools. No way! So why on earth do they need a crutch like this?
Why are the other children handicapped for no fault of theirs? Why are they made out to be less equal?

Apparently, the officials wants to bring about more parity between the marks scored in the SSC and other Boards. Well, first bring about the same parity in the standard of education. How can you penalise someone for studying more?

Let them build colleges for their students says the minister about the fate of the students from other Boards relegated to a mere 10% statistic. Why do I hear echoes of Marie-Antoinette's "let them eat cake!" ?

I wonder why the same education ministry sanctioned all those ICSE, CBSE and IB schools if they had no intention of allowing the students to compete fairly for seats in quality colleges.
Now here's a fact for you : there just aren't that many good quality colleges in Mumbai. There are some, true. But not enough.

What on earth happened to good old Merit? Why is everything about reservations and quotas nowadays? Soon will they introduce reservations on whom one can marry?
Where and when will we begin to live as truly equal citizens in this country? Why is it that if you score more or earn more, you automatically go to the bottom of the ladder to make way, almost guiltily, for those who didn't?

I know! At the end of the next elections, the person who gets the least amount of votes should be declared the winner.
Same logic, no?

p.s. This post is not a sneering put-down of the capabilities of the SSC Board or its students. Nor is it a song of praise glorifying the students of other Boards. It is just one mother's shocked reaction to what I see as sheer injustice and discrimination.


  1. These days’ education and getting admission in colleges have become a war like situation were a fair amount of strategic planning is called for. If your child is doing 1st or 2nd group and is aspiring to get into an engineering or medical college it doesn’t really matter which board he is studying in because the admission is based on the common entrance exams for which one need the extra coaching of the coaching institutes which are fine tuned for it. The P.C.Thomas coaching centre at Trichur and Brilliant, Palai are two examples in Kerala. However it must be said that the entrance exams are purported to be based on the CBSE stream.

    It is for the humanities or commerce stream where the college admission is based on marks alone that tactical approach is called for. For example, SRCC (Sri Ram College of Commerce) affiliated to the Delhi University which is consistently ranked first in all of India for commerce stream does not differentiate between the various board exams. If you are an above average student and don’t think you can score in the 90s studying in the CBSE or ICSE syllabus and wish to apply in SRCC it is better to study in the state syllabus and score in the 90s. The cut-off was 94.5% last year!

    I have experimented with the Tamilnadu board and my son lost by the skin of his teeth. He got 92.75% (TNHSC) but the cut off that year was 93.5%. He was doing ICSE till 10th.

  2. Sunita this is a global example of stupidity. Here students 10 yrs and 11 yrs here take an exam to get places at secondary schools. We call it the 11 plus. Each school has a pass mark and the students are allocated places according to their marks and school choices. There is a big debate on with some people saying that this exam should be scrapped while others do not have a problem with it. However the best schools have the highest pass marks and are the most prestigious schools.
    I can understand your frustration when the education boards change the rules in the middle of the game. It is only natural there are schools that are better than others and will have a higher pass mark. Everyone one is not at the same level of education so why keep the bright ones back? Here they allow a limited amount of transfers after allocation. If not, many parents opt to send their children to a private school. Hope that your son is not traumatized by the board's stupid decisions. It seems that merit is no longer recognized nor important; they have to be politically correct and be fair to everyone. It seems that this world has become a paradise for fools.The more stupid your are the greater the rewards. As they say here in Barbados common sense is no longer common.

  3. Nebu, your phrase 'war-like situation' describes it so perfectly! The saddest part is that these new issues are thrown in our face with the admissions just a few days away. It really makes one wonder whether we are really seen as the 'enemy' by those deciding these things !
    Dont remind me of the hurdles yet to come at the Degree level ... I'm still sweating over getting my son into Junior College (Pre-Degree)!

  4. Helen, I dont know if I should sympathise or feel relieved that we're not the only ones suffering from poorly-thought out policies.
    My son is a bit bewildered by the whole thing as he finds it very unfair. But he has left all the worrying to us ... after all we do such a fantastic job at it! ;D
    And I agree with you so wholeheartedly about the paradise for fools part. Really!