SSC results deliver a powerful message  

Published: May 08, 2019 22:12:07 | Updated: May 10, 2019 22:15:59

The just-published results of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations have marked a 3.40 per cent rise in pass figure over the past year's 82.80 per cent on an average. These are nice results by the country's standards. But there is no reason to be euphoric about it. After all, education in the country has infrastructural deficits so that the majority of 1,403,157 examinees who have come out successful may either lose their way in the wilderness or find it difficult to build a decent career. The systemic weakness will not allow everyone to make good use of his or her talent or potential. If the number of examinees achieving the coveted grade point average (GPA)-5 has fallen this year to 94,556 from last year's 102,845 it may be an indication of a decline in standards or of a stricter evaluation of the scripts. At least 8,289 fewer candidates will be competing for admission to the best colleges in the country and then perhaps to top universities.

It is important to bear in mind when marks well above 80 out of 100 play a role in the appearance for admission tests in select universities. Unless the context of education changes, students will have to score as high as possible -more than 80 per cent marks on an average -to be eligible for appearing at admission tests. How the examinees of the SSC perform is also quite a measure of the level of a nation's educational attainment at that stage. It is indeed the first step towards higher education. No wonder, the results are considered the foundation on which usually students' future openings depend. Ever since the introduction of the MCQ (multiple choice questions), results at the secondary and higher secondary levels have started improving at a fast pace.

This time, though, there is a real cause for celebration amid some concerns. It is the success of girl students on both counts of percentage of pass and GPA achievement that stands out. Until 2017, boys had the upper hand in results. From last year girls started getting the better of boys. This year 83.54 per cent girl students have passed compared with 82.01 per cent boys. But the clinching factor for the girl students is the achievement of GPA-5. As many as 48,591 of them have achieved this top grade, whereas achievers among the boys stand at 45,965 -a gap of 2,626 between them. What an achievement! This has been possible because of directing the focus to girls' education alongside that of boys. Credit goes to girls who have taken studies particularly seriously. Both the government and some parents deserve appreciation for promoting girls' education.

However, the trend of equal treatment to boys' and girls' education is not universal in this land. The well-to-do and advanced segment of society have made this happen but the parents of the marginalised and far flung areas find it difficult to do justice to the cause of education for the girl child. That the girls have outperformed their counterparts is however, no guarantee for gender parity. But it is a giant step towards empowering themselves in terms of career building. It is a sure sign of social progress and society must welcome this with open arms.

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