#Education Staff Picks

Education ministry finds way to allow students to score over 100% marks in board exams

Extra marks for time spent in coaching classes; parents to be awarded marks for completing students’ homework and assignments

The story is based on the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams in Maharashtra, which offer 25 extra marks for students who excel in sports, thus allowing the possibility of them scoring over 100% marks. The policy has however been scrapped for next year’s exam. (news)

Those unlucky enough to be giving the SSC board exam next year and worried that the sports marks will not be added to the subject totals this time, take heart. The HRD Ministry has found a way for you to score 700 marks (as opposed to the previous possible 625) out of 600. After watching students score only 100% marks in their board exams, some unique solutions have been put forward, to provide them the opportunity to surpass the mediocrity of a perfect score.

Students to be awarded marks for the time they spend in coaching classes:

The first proposition is that students be awarded marks for the time they spend in coaching classes. “There will be some method to quantify the time spent in coaching classes,” said an official of the Department of School Education and Literacy (Kapil Sibal refused to be the bearer of yet another cyclonic controversial decision). “A formula will convert the hours into marks. A maximum of 50 marks can be earned, and will be added to the total.”

Coaching classes have stepped up to this reform by incorporating some much needed changes.

A biometric system has been proposed to log the hours spent in classes. The system will use fingerprints to keep track of entry and exit of each student; additionally, blood pressure and resting heart rate will be measured once a fortnight.

“Time is crucial here, not pace,” said a representative of T.I.M.E. smugly, obviously pleased with his quaint marketing pun. “Students will think twice before bunking. The tests will show if the student has been adequately fatigued or stressed. In the unfortunate situation that a student is found fit, healthy and attentive, we’ll increase ‘dosage’ of classes.”

Classes unable to adopt the biometric system have collaborated with the police (with the Government’s approval, of course) to order ‘curfews’ within a specified radius of the classes. Once the student enters the class, he cannot leave until the pre-decided time (which will mostly span between three to six hours at a stretch). Any student found outside before ‘exit time’ shall be given a serious warning; upon his third transgression, will be caught and rusticated on sight.

Parents to be awarded marks for completing students’ homework and assignments well:

Scenes like these are likely to become rare, as parents will soon become capable of handling homework all by themselves!

There will be an additional 50 marks up for grabs based on the parents’ ability to complete homework and projects. A separate section will be added in the examination mark sheets reserved especially for the parents.

“Parents do the assignments and projects while the children take credit for it,” said the DSEL official. “This is a widely accepted practice that has gone unrewarded for far too long; now parents will be awarded marks for their efforts too. This will reduce the workload on the students too, who can use this free time wisely and spend it in coaching classes. This will provide a much needed break from school work.”

Ms. Anne George, teacher at a Chennai school, noted, “In PTA meetings, we will be assessing the parents’ work, not the students’, who will be at their coaching classes anyway. Receiving marks will give parents validation for their skills and hard work. Moreover, this will create bad blood between parents and make them competitive too, hence bridging the generation gap.”

What do the students have to say about the whole system?

Aditya Das, who will be giving his board exams in 2013, is worried. “We had it so much better when the sports marks were allotted. My older brother and a friend of his had opted for tug-of-war and fencing respectively. There was lesser competition there as well. But the best part was that they got the 25 marks just because they participated in the competitions—never mind that they won nothing! I’ll have to slog for these extra 100 marks.”

On the other hand, Jay Sharma, a class IX student, exclaims, “We can obviously net a perfect 100 this time! Homework is always copied off each other; it is tradition. Now the copying time will be saved too! Perhaps I could squeeze in guitar, dance, elocution, tennis, singing, drama, painting and personality development classes that I used to go to, or I could log in extra hours at the coaching class. This is indeed an existential crisis!”

Neha Iyer, a T.I.M.E. student, has recently been diagnosed with agoraphobia—a fear of open spaces. She only feels safe in the sanctuary of her coaching classroom. “I get panic attacks whenever I’m not in class. Even the journey there is nerve-wracking. I find it so difficult to study at home.”

She’s already looking at a bright mark sheet!

On this positive note, a very excited Ajay Gupta adds, “I’ll be groomed like an IITian! I already feel claustrophobic and suffocated while talking to girls; I can’t make it worse! A friend of mine finds himself watching Castle and Hannah Montana and listening to Justin Bieber. We have terrible taste and our social skills are rapidly deteriorating. Success shall be ours!”

So there you have it; an opportunity to score in excess of the pedestrian 100%.

Now, thankfully, all the concerned states’ worries that their SSC students will be surpassed by ICSE and CBSE students will finally be put to rest.

And just when you thought our education system wasn’t doing anything right!

(ed. Apoorva Tapas; Apoorva and Priyanka are interning with NTMN in the Internship-cum-Training program 2012)

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Priyanka Mehta

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