Sivankutty terms 2021 SSLC A-plus glut 'national joke'

Kerala's General Education Minister V Sivankutty.

General Education Minister V Sivankutty termed last year's SSLC examination results a "national joke". "This time the General Education Department was extremely cautious and we have come up with results for both SSLC and higher secondary that were acclaimed nationally," Sivankutty said while speaking at an awards function held at the Assembly lounge on Friday.

This year's result, he said, had "quality". The minister's remark is now read as a mighty snub of students who had passed with flying colours last year. It was the humongous number of full A-plus students last time, 1,25,509, that has invited the minister's sneer.

Such an unwieldy number of A-plus students was unheard of in SSLC history. If in 2020 the number of full A-plus candidates was 41,906, in 2021 it had trebled to 1.26 lakh. Since the exams were conducted in the middle of the pandemic and after a year of online classes, the question papers were drafted in such a way that even a below average student could score A-plus for most of the subjects. This time, the options given to students were limited.

Last year, around 200 percent additional questions were included in the question papers, giving multiple options for the students to choose. However, this year, only 50 percent additional questions were included.

What's more, last year 80 percent of the questions were from the focus area that made up only 40 percent of the syllabus

Though the result would have made a larger pool of students happy, it later caused serious heartburn. Most of the students who won A-plus could not secure the subject of their choice in higher secondary schools. Even when they got the subject of their choice, many had to study in schools outside their home districts.

There were administrative troubles, too. To accommodate students, 20 per cent additional seats were created in seven districts including Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad. In three other districts - Kollam, Ernakulam and Thrissur - 10 per cent additional seats were created. In certain districts like Wayanad, where the demand was low, higher secondary seats were cut and shifted to other districts. All of this had delayed admissions.

This time, the number of full A-plus students has come down to 44,363, even if higher than the 2020 number. The pass pass percentage, too, has fallen though only marginally, from 99.47% to 99.26%.

This year, 4,26,469 students appeared for the SSLC examinations.

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