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Himachal’s school teachers blame grading system, non-performing students, low learning level for poor board results

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Due to CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) we cannot fail students. Even if students do not attend classes, their names cannot be struck off the rolls

SHIMLA- Manju Thakur hadn’t seen it coming. In the results of the Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education declared this month, she scored 11 marks in science, 11 in maths and 7 in English. Only 20 of 122 students passed the Class X state board exams at Government Senior Secondary School at Pathiar, Kangra, where Manju studies. Seventeen others got compartments. Most of the students got low marks in science, maths and English, like Manju, daughter of a farm labourer.

Teachers would tell me she is good at studies,

said Manju’s mother Lajja Devi, who is perplexed.

Manju used to say the teachers are teaching well.

Manju’s sister Anjana, in Class XII at the same school, a walk of 1.5 km from their home, said her sister’s teachers had told her, too, that Manju was doing well. Anjana herself had scored 71 per cent in Class X.

This year, the highest any Class X student of this school scored was 53 per cent. It is one of 86 schools in Himachal Pradesh with a pass percentage 20 or lower in this year’s Class X and XII board exams.

Principal Mehar Singh, however, is not surprised.

The learning level of most students is not up to the mark,

Singh said.

Due to CCE (continuous and comprehensive evaluation) we cannot fail students. Even if students do not attend classes, their names cannot be struck off the rolls.

No student passed Class X in 16 government schools, and none passed Class XII in three. Overall, however, the board results were better than in the previous two years 66.88 per cent passed Class X after 57.18 per cent in 2014 and 65.25 per cent in 2015, while 78.61 passed XII after 67.09 per cent in 2014 and 68.63 per cent in 2015.

The principal said private schools don’t see high failures as they simply ask parents to take out a non-performing child. Many such children come and join government schools, he says.

After students complete primary classes, Class VI teachers find they don’t even know the basics like the alphabet or counting,

said Chitra, who teaches social studies.

It is when they appear for the boards that their level of knowledge is tested.

Once among the top-ranking states on schooling and learning, Himachal presented poor results in the Annual Survey of Education Research (ASER) in 2014. Around 1.7 per cent of Class VIII students in rural schools could not recognise the digits, 15 per cent could not tell 10 to 99, and 21.5 per cent could do subtraction but not division. In English, 0.5 per cent students could not read capital letters, and 1.2 per cent failed with small letters.

Sudipto Roy, Himachal’s education secretary from 2000 to 2003, said the state was actually well placed to implement the RTE.

I was able to provide 90 per cent boys and girls access to school. The dropout level at the time was the least in the country,

he said. But doing away with the exam system proved detrimental, he said.

The only way to judge quality is examination. Unfortunately, examinations are not so important in the country any more.

The number of students in government primary schools has been falling, from 5.89 lakh in 2003 to 3.23 lakh in 2015-16. Across levels, the state has 9.31 lakh students in 15,327 government schools, and more than 5 lakh students in 2,712 private schools.

The Pathiar school, set up in 1937, has 512 students now. Its science labs double up as classrooms. Of the sanctioned 24 faculty members, the posts of two Sanskrit teachers, one drawing teacher and two lab assistants are vacant.

Bucking the trend in this school, however, was Ranjit, son of a labourer. He scored 93 per cent in Class XII and has cleared the JEE (Main) cutoff.

I got guidance from teachers. I was determined to get good marks and I did,

Ranjit said.

Photo: Representational image

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HPU College Teachers Condemn Lowering Pass Percentage to Improve RUSA Results, Student Organizations in Favour

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HPU Lower Passing percentage in RUSA 2

Shimla– The Himachal Pradesh University appears to have succumbed to the pressure from students as it recently issued a notification announcing lowering the pass percentage from 45 percent to 40 percent. The university also withdrew the criteria of separately obtaining qualifying marks for the Continuous Comprehensive Assessment (CCA) and scrapped the End Semester Examination (ESE). The announcement came following reports of poor results of Under-graduate Classes under RUSA system.

While the students and student organizations have welcomed this decision, the Himachal Pradesh College Teachers Association has condemned it. The teachers are of the view that reducing pass percentage alongwith withdrawing ESE and mandatory condition of obtaining 35% in CCA would only degrade the quality of education. The teachers termed lowering passing percentage as a very poor step to improve examination results. The teachers further complained that the university amended the provision without consulting all stakeholders and considering the negative implications of this decision.

The Association is of the opinion that the university is playing with the future of the students and the quality of education for the sake of improving results. The teachers also termed the decision contrary to the claims of the government to introduce quality in education.

Because now the students are required to obtain only 10 to 14 percent marks in the End Semester Exams instead of 35 percent, the teachers said, they would be under pressure to grant students 28 to 30 marks in CCA, which was decided based on three aspects: attendance, mid-term test, and overall assessment through assignment, tests, class seminars, and assignments.

On the other hand, student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad has welcomed this decision.

“ABVP welcomes this decision. Prior to the introduction of RUSA, the passing percentage used to be 35 percent, and the number of subjects was also lesser. But now, under RUSA, the passing percentage was 45 percent, and the number of subjects was also higher. Moreover, there was a mandatory condition of securing passing marks in theory and CCA separately,”

Yograj Dogra, the Campus President of ABVP told Himachal Watcher.

“Moreover, it was ABVP that had raised this demand of lower passing percentage and scrap mandatory condition of securing 35 percent in CCA,”

he further added.

The Student Federation of India has not released any statement regarding this decision so far. However, SFI has also been advocating lowering of pass percentage to improve the results.

In May, the students had approached the Vice-Chancellor with a plea to reduce the pass percentage arguing that 70 percent of students who had appeared in the examination of the fifth semester were flunked. About 2600 students had scored below 10 marks and 900 had scored zero. The students had complained that there is no provision of re-evaluation under RUSA. For re-checking, students were made to pay a hefty Rs. 400 fee per subject, which was termed as financial exploitation of the students.

On June 14, 2019, the University issued a notification stating that the Vice-Chancellor has approved changes in these conditions.

“The pass percentage for the students of Under-Graduate Classes under RUSA(CBCS) system for the academic session 2016 and 2017 onwards be reduced to 40 percent instead of 45 percent to maintain the uniformity with the Annual system. However, the rewards of Practical examinations shall be kept apart, and it will only be calculated after the candidate secures 40 percent marks in CCA and ESE,”

it said.

The notification further said,

“The criteria of qualifying marks (i.e. 35%) for CCA and End Semester Examinations separately shall be considered withdrawn.”

The Teachers’ Association is of the view that the university has taken this decision to benefit a handful of politically backed students. The long-term results would be fatal for the academic standards and the future of the students, the Association believes.

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Nauni Varsity Ranked Highest in NIRF Rankings for Past 3 Years as it Leads in Academics, Extension and Research

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UHF Nauni Varsity in Last Three Years

Solan-The past three years have been highly successful for Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, and the university has made rapid strides on all the three fronts- academics, extension and research, informed the Public Relation Officer, Suchet Attri.

He said that Dr HC Sharma, who will be completing a successful term as university Vice-Chancellor on June 14, credits the whole university for this unprecedented success. Dr Sharma has thanked the government for its support in improving the financial situation of the university in the past three years. He informed that the sanctioned budget of the university has increased from Rs 64.25 cr to 90.5 crores and the domestic income rose from Rs. 19.79 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 29.27 crores in 2018-19. This figure is expected to touch Rs. 32.6 crores in the current financial year. Owing to the improvement in the financial health, the university has been able to clear long pending dues (since 2011) of the employees and pensioners worth over Rs. 41.27 crores, he said.

He further informed that the university has been the highest ranked in the NIRF rankings in Himachal Pradesh for the past three years. The university achieved 80th position in the top 100 universities in the country and is the only one from the state to make it into the list. This year only nine agricultural horticulture universities from the country were in the top 100 list. In the ICAR State agriculture Universities ranking, UHF improved its ranking from 51 in 2016 to 38 in 2017. In the past three years, 44 positions of scientists and several posts of the non-teaching staff were filled by the university and 80 additional positions of scientists/assistant professors have also been approved by the Government, which will be filled up very soon. The student intake of the university also increased from 1250 in 2016 to 2250 in 2018/19.

The University has taken a great leap forward and a new College of Horticulture is being established at Thunag with a budget outlay of over Rs. 70 crores, he added. It is expected to give a major boost to horticulture and forestry activities in the area. The process of ICAR accreditation of the College of Horticulture and Forestry, Neri has also been completed and the college is expected to accredited soon.

The university has made significant progress in research and infrastructure development. During the past three years, the grant from ICAR and other central resources has increased significantly and the university received more than 10 crores assistance from ICAR over the past two years.  Several works like the Pavilion block and stadium (Rs. 1.20 Crores), gymnasium (Rs 25 lakh), Lab. for Soil Testing: (Rs. 45 lakh), Examination Halls (Rs. 2.00 Crores) Boys Hostel-(Rs. 2.50 Crores), Girls Hostel-VII – (Rs. 2.50 Crores) and other works worth several crores of rupees were commissioned and completed. On 1st December 2018, the Hon’ble Governor and Chancellor of the University inaugurated the newly constructed girls’ hostel at Nauni Campus, and one girls’ hostel and UG block constructed at Neri, were inaugurated by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur in October 2018.

The crowning glory for the university, the PRO said, was the 9th Convocation of the university held on 21st May 2018, which was presided over by the Hon’ble President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind. The Governor of Himachal Pradesh Acharya Devvrat and Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur also graced the event. On the research front, scientists developed several varieties and technologies.

Varieties like Solan Giriganga in ginger, Solan Srijan in cucumber, Epicotyl grafting technique in walnut, high-density orchards of apple, guava, litchi, and mango were developed by the university. The university was successful in getting projects worth over Rs. 18.37 crores from various funding agencies in the past three years. Several technologies that were developed by the scientists were transferred to the entrepreneurs and the industry. The Botanical Survey of India signed an MoU with the University for opening up a Western Himalayan High Altitude Regional Circle at the university with a budget outlay of Rs 15 crore. The university has also been shortlisted for the Rs 30 crore project of the ICAR, which aims at strengthening undergraduate education in the university.

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Sanjauli College Himachal’s First to Offer Paperless and Cashless Facilities: Edu Minister

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Sanjauli College Website

Shimla-With the launch of its new website (www.gcsanjauli.com), the Centre of Excellence Government College Sanjauli has become the first college in Himachal Pradesh to provide paperless and cashless facility to its students. The website, however, redirects to sub-domain (https://gcsanjauli.highalteducation.in/) when students click on the button given for online admission portal.

The Education Minister, who launched the website, said that with this launch the college students will get an online registration facility. They will be able to fill up more than one form and will have the facility to update their forms online.

The students can also deposit their fees on this website by using HDFC payment gateway. The students can pay by various online payment methods including payment through debit and credit cards, e-wallets, Paytm etc.

The Principal Dr. C.B Mehta further informed that there are total 600 seats in Arts category, 20 in English Honors, 80 in Commerce, 140 in Medical, 140 in Non-Medical, 40 in BCA, 90 in Vocational Course (45 in Retail Management and 45 in Hospitality and Tourism). Other than these courses, the College is also offering a course in Journalism and Mass Communication from this session.

He also informed that several online application were received soon after the launch of the website.

The website was developed by a Shimla-based company.

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