Government high schools were to reopen on Wednesday, May 15 for special classes to coach students who have failed or secured low marks in Class 10 (SSLC) annual exam – 1, to prepare them for exam – 2, scheduled to begin from June 7, 2024. However, the response to this initiative has been lukewarm. In most schools only headmasters were present and very few teachers and students attended these special classes on Wednesday. 

In several districts, high school teachers’ associations have petitioned Deputy Directors of Public Instruction (DDPI) demanding a withdrawal of the order, issued on May 13, declaring special classes from May 15 to June 5. “We finished evaluation of answer sheets and were immediately rushed into election duty. It hasn’t even been 10 days since and we have been called back to work at such short notice,” one of the high school teachers rued. Y.A. Narayanaswamy, a Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) of the teacher’s constituency, has also written a letter to the Principal Secretary, the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), appealing to withdraw the circular. 

The state government has introduced a new system of three annual exams for Class 10 and II PU students from this academic year and in light of the same, has organised these special classes. Especially, given that the pass percentage in SSLC exams have come down drastically this year. Pegged at 73.4%, it has declined by 10.49% compared to last year. However, this also doesnt reflect reality. The actual result had declined by 30% this year, which is why the State government decided to enhance the normalisation of scores in the interest of students as webcasting was a new intervention. And, it reduced the qualifying marks for attracting grace marks from the existing 35% to 25%, and grace marks had been increased from 10% to 20% in all subjects as a one-time measure for all three SSLC annual exams of 2024.

Among 8,25,468 students appeared in the examination a total of 6,08,336 students managed to pass and a total of 2,17,132 students failed. Compared to the previous year, the number of ‘C+’ (50-59%) and ‘C’ (35-49%) grade students has increased. This year, the percentage of C+ and C grade students has increased by 22.38% and 23.66% respectively. Special classes are to be held for these students at all government high schools and the government has also arranged mid-day meals for the same. 

H. K. Manjunath, Honorary President for Karnataka State High School Assistant Teachers Association said that they were not against teaching students who failed to clear exams and said they had done it earlier as well. “But the order cannot be issued just one or two days in advance. Instead of opening all schools and asking all teachers to attend, the government could have held these special classes clusterwise deploying specialist teachers,” he said. 

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