After the high of the class XII CBSE results, Delhi government schools registered a sobering result in the class X board exams, finishing far behind the overall national results and those of the city's private schools. While Delhi government schools registered a 71.97 pass percentage, the overall pass percentage in Delhi across all institutions was 80.97%.
This result places Delhi at the ninth spot out of the 10 regions into which CBSE schools across the country are pided. Thiruvananthapuram region, comprising Kerala and Lakshadweep, was on top with a 99.85 pass percentage. Alarmingly, Delhi was far behind Dehradun region (Uttarakhand and Western UP), which was at the eighth position with 89.04%.
At 93.18%, the pass percentage across private schools in Delhi is on par with the national average.
The government schools' performance in class X is in contrast with their class XII performance, where they registered a pass percentage at 94.29% - 10.89 percentage points above the national results and 3.61 above that of Delhi's private schools.
Their performance in class X this year was slightly better than last year's, when they had dipped below the 70% mark with a 69.33 pass percentage. A total of 1,67,866 students from Delhi government schools appeared in the class X exams this year.
According to Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia, the low pass percentage is an imprint of the struggles of these schools with the no-detention policy, which was done away earlier this year following an amendment to the Right to Education Act. According to this policy, students could not be held back in any class till the completion of elementary education - till class VIII.
"The deterioration in academic standards, set in motion by the no-detention policy, is showing in the class X results. Students who gave the exams are the products of this policy, whose bases are very weak. The fact is that apart from a few principals and teachers, most people in government schools gave up during this policy since students would be promoted regardless of standards or teaching," he said.
Asked why private schools do not seem to have been affected by the policy in a similar way, he said, "Private schools did not give up."
The head of a government school in Central Delhi, however, attributed it to relatively lenient internal examinations in Class IX.
Asked why there is such a large gap between the performance of government schools in classes X and XII, teachers and the Education Minister referred to the class X examination as a filter. "The class X board exam is a huge barrier, which filters out children who were unable to cope and were just being pushed through the system. Only the cream go on till class XII," a government school teacher said.
The number of students who appeared for the class XII examination from these schools this year was 1,29,917 - 37,949 less than those who appeared for class X.
According to Sisodia, efforts to improve results will include trying to identify where students are struggling in each subject. "We will pull out and analyse 200 low-end answer sheets for each subject to try and identify where students are going wrong and work to improve on those areas."