MUMBAI: Over the past five years, even as the number of students appearing for the Higher Secondary Certificate(HSC) examination went up by only 17%, the number of those scoring a distinction (above 75%) more than doubled. With seats at top-rung colleges not seeing an increase at the same pace, competition for students to get in has only got tougher over the years.
According to data with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, which conducts the HSC exam, the number of candidates went up from 12.7 lakh in 2012 to 15 lakh this year. Vis-a-vis the number of candidates who scored more than 75%, across the three streams, Arts, Science and Commerce, went up by 122%, from 49,819 to 1.10 lakh, in those years.
Amid the moderation row that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) was recently embroiled in, the state board has maintained that it never inflated marks. “The syllabus and pattern changed four years back, and we have conducted eight HSC exams since. Students and teachers understand the syllabus better with every passing year and it helps scores to increase,” said Gangadhar Mhamane, chairperson of the board.
Teachers said scores of students increased in 2013-14, when the board introduced 20 mark practical exams and orals for subjects other than science. “Over the last five years, the pattern of examination has undergone a change. Students can score better because of oral and practical exams. The board also introduced more objective-type questions, which helped students, compared to the previous format, where students had to write a longer answer and did not score full marks for it,” said Anil Deshmukh, a teacher at Sathaye College, Vile Parle.