Grace marks given as per HRD advisory, says PSEB

Claims move aimed at checking drop-out rate

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 22

After facing flak from all quarters for increasing the pass percentage in the Class X Board results, the Punjab State Education Board (PSEB) on Monday clarified that it was done to reduce the dropout rate in schools.

A huge leap in Class X pass percentage from 76.49 per cent to 85.56 per cent was recorded under the garb of moderation.

Justifying the decision, the PSEB Chairman said the moderation in March 2019 results was done as per the existing regulation of the board, which had been in tune with the HRD advisory.

Chairman, PSEB, Manohar Kant, said, “Moderation was done to reduce the dropout rate in schools. The board has to take care of students from marginal sections, rural areas and first-generation students so that borderline cases may be given some push.”

In fact the board’s decision to increase the pass percentage from 76.49% to 85.56%, this year after moderation had sparked a row as teachers and political parties accused “the board of misusing the provision of moderation to increase marks”.

Meanwhile, the board said the decision was taken after a five-member committee, constituted by the Chairman, recommend the same following the numerous complaints of clash of date sheets and unusually difficult question papers in the board exams.

“We have so many border districts and the majority of schools are in rural area. Therefore, we have to give grace marks so that the students don’t drop out of schools after getting failed,” said the PSEB Chairman.

According to board rules, moderation of result can be resorted to only under ‘extreme circumstances’. Moreover, it has to be recommended by a committee of subject experts. However, even after the recommendation, the final decision was with the Chairman of the board.

When asked about the ‘extreme circumstances’, which led to the use of the provision, Kant, said, “There were no extreme circumstances, but it has already been used since long. We have to pass the students who were on the borderline as per the rules.”

Moreover, the PSEB Chairman denied any pressure from the Education Department to inflate the board results to build a good image of the standard of education in the government schools.

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