All set for HSLC 2023 exams The mad mark rush !

Exams are here to stay and marks will be the defining factor to decide how well a student or a candidate has done in the, generally, three hour rituals called examinations. So it is that from March 16 more than 38 thousand students, all drawn from Government, private and Govt aided schools, will sit for the High School Leaving Certification Examination and it will be marks that will determine how well a student has done. In a world of rankings, which invariably means a sort of a comparison with peers, the Board of Secondary Education, Manipur (BOSEM) will also announce the rank holders, the students who manage to grab a spot in the top 25 positions and it is this practise which has been in vogue for decades. No one is complaining and it is doubtful whether anyone has ever given any thought to the process of comparing the performance of students. An acceptable practise it is and it will continue. And if marks, ranks and performance of students are decided solely on the basis of how they have done in the three hours ritual, then it should not come as too much of a surprise to see schools, which have the plus 2 level, going all the way out to attract the students who have been placed in the top 25 positions and others who did remarkably well but just missed out on occupying a spot in the exalted list of 25. And if BOSEM is able to stick to its time table, then come the second week of May then one can expect the results to come out and sure enough, all the Imphal based newspapers can be expected to make a beeline for the residences of the top three position holders to get their interview and take a glimpse at their study hours. This is besides the now mandatory, what they want to become in life poser. Commodifying what the young students, who have just completed 15 years of life on earth, or somewhere near or after the 15 years mark, have learnt and interpreting the knowledge they have gained so far in marks and this has been the accepted practise in the absence of any other cognizable yardstick. No one is complaining, but it would help so much more if Manipur and the world can look at the performance of the students beyond what they have scored and subjecting them to questions such as what they would want to become later in life.
By the second week of May and keeping in line with the accepted trend, one can expect some of the better placed private schools publicising the freebies on offer to some of the students who have scored well in the HSLC examinations. Free tuition, free text books, free transportation (read bus fees), free hostel etc and one is left wondering whether this is commerce eating into the playing field or whether this is a way of acknowledging the high marks scored by some students. Making a topper in the HSLC examination top the Class XII board exams two years hence, should not be such a challenge and the real mettle of a school should be tested on how successful it is in taking a 70 percenter student in the Class X exam to be an 80 or even 90 percenter in the Class XII exam. If students are to be graded according to the marks they score, then there should be nothing wrong in grading a school on the basis of how much ‘improvement’ it can make in taking a student from the 70 percent club to the 80 or 90 percent club. The dice should roll both ways and one hopes the private schools here take this as a challenge and see if they can live up to the challenge. So it is that in the absence of any other mechanism to test the merit of a student, it will be marks but one hopes that a certain kind of unwritten but yet effective mechanism is put in the consciousness of every student and parents and elders of the family to look at the competitiveness of a school on how successful it is in giving that edge of merit to an ‘average’ student in two years.