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Assam SEBA HSLC Class 10 board exam results 2017: After ‘grace marks’ row, pass percentage dips to 15-year low

Guwahati: A row over inflation of marks in Assam’s Class 10 board exams appears to have affected the results declared on Wednesday.

The success rate in this year’s school-leaving exams, conducted by the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) was 47.94%, the lowest in 15 years. The fall in pass percentage was a drastic 14.85% from the overall score in 2016.

On May 9, state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stirred up a controversy by accusing the former Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi of starting the practice of awarding ‘grace marks’ to students to inflate the success rate.

Sarma was education minister in the later part of the Congress’ 15-year rule until May last year. As a minister in Sarbananda Sonowal’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government, education is one of his portfolios.

“SEBA awards hidden grace marks to raise the pass percentage at the behest of the political masters in Dispur (seat of power in Guwahati). This is in addition to the grace marks normally awarded to students falling short of the minimum pass marks by just a few marks,” the education minister had said.

The Class 10 success rate used to hover around the 30% mark till 2001 when the Congress had come to power. The highest pass percentage till that year was 38.70% in 2000.

The success rate dipped to 33.28% in 2001, but jumped to 40.87% the next year. The figure kept increasing steadily to touch the highest-ever of 70.71% in 2013.

SEBA secretary Kamaljyoti Gogoi declined to say if the government had given any instruction to roll back the grace marks system. But a lesser official said the “results are indication enough”.

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Small town success

In a surprise, none of the schools in Kamrup, which virtually encompasses capital Guwahati and its metropolitan districts, considered to be the best in Assam, figured in the top 10. The switch of many private schools from SEBA to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is said to be a factor.

Of the 29 students who secured the top 10 positions, six were from Dibrugarh district followed by Barpeta (five), Darrang, Jorhat and Nalbari (three each), Lakhimpur, Sivasagar and Sonitpur (two each), and Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Nagaon (one each).

Muslims are the dominant community in Dhubri, Barpeta, Nagaon, Darrang and Bongaigaon districts.

Parthapratim Bhuyan of Jatiya Vidyalaya in western Assam’s Tihu (Nalbari district) secured the top spot with 589 marks, which works out to 98.17%.

Three students were tied at the second spot with 588 marks. They are Tanmayee Hazarika of BVFC Model High School in Dibrugarh, Rajanya Kashyap Gogoi of Salt Brook Academy in Dibrugarh, and Nurul Hoque Ali of Raghunath Choudhury HS School in Mukalmua (Nalbari).

The third position, with 587 marks, went to Bhargobpratim Borah of Pichala National Academy, Jarabari (Lakhimpur district).

Of the 372,640 students who appeared for the exams, 4,312 got distinction (510 and above) while 11,312 got star marks (450 and above).

Exams in most languages

Assam has four official languages – Assamese across Brahmaputra Valley, Bengali in Barak Valley, Bodo in areas under Bodoland Territorial Council, and English in two tribal hill districts – and is the only state in India that publishes school textbooks in 14 languages.

This was evident from the Class 10 results that SEBA declared on Wednesday.

This year, 13,015 candidates had Assamese as their compulsory or elective language. Arabic was second with 3,841 candidates and Sanskrit third with 1,632 students.

With 1,101 candidates, Hindi took the fifth spot behind the 1,536 students who opted for Bodo tribal language, which follows the Devnagiri script. Bengali followed closely Hindi with 1,089 candidates.

The other languages opted for were Nepali, Santhali, Persian, Garo, Khasi, Manipuri, Mizo and Urdu. Santhali, spoken by a section of tea plantation workers, had the lowest numbers, with just three candidates.

Students can check their Assam Board of Secondary Education Assam (SEBA) High School Leaving Examination (HSLC) Class 10th board exam results 2017 on sebaonline.org or resultsassam.nic.in.

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