Education: Equal Opportunity for All
While many states had to cancel HSLC and HSSLC examinations all together this year due to the second wave of the novel coronavirus, the Nagaland Board of School Education managed to conduct the exams just in time. The state government announced total lockdown barely two weeks after the board exams concluded. It was good that students in the state could at least write the exams in offline mode after missing out classroom learning for months since the pandemic started in March last year. Some may argue that traditional method of assessing students is vague but written examination remains to be the main form of assessment as it provides an even playing field for everyone, ensuring uniform evaluation. Students around the world have suffered huge learning loss but those from hill stations like the Northeast, where internet speed is either erratic or non-existent, suffered more than others. So, it was encouraging that students in Nagaland valued written assessment and took the board exams seriously despite the frustration they had to go through because of school closure. In HSLC examination, 16388 candidates out of the total 23608 enrolled qualified the exam this year with a percentage of 69.42%, compared to last year’s pass percentage of 70.03%. In HSSLC examination, the overall pass percentage in Arts stream was 69.37% and Commerce was 74.39% this year, which is slightly lower than last year’s but the pass percentage of 91.35% in Science stream is higher than last year’s 80.99%. It was a big achievement both for the board and students as the ongoing pandemic had disrupted the education sector and continues to do so.
What is even more encouraging is the number of female candidates who wrote these two examinations. Girls not only outnumbered boys in candidates enrolled for the exams but also outshone them when the results were declared. A total of 8719 girls qualified the HSLC examination against 7669 boys, while 58 girls made it to Top 20 list compared to 24 boys. But it doesn’t come as a surprise because girls have been consistently outperforming boys both at the national and state levels for years now. What was significant in the state’s recent board examinations is the number of female students who appeared for the exams. It is encouraging to know that girls from the state are not lagging behind in terms of education unlike some states where more boys get the chance to study. It in a way reflects how the society treats girls. This is what governments both at the Centre and state have been striving for- to provide equal opportunity to every citizen. However, what still remains to be seen is the outcome of these good academic results. The society should ensure that girls are not deprived of higher studies. Good results in the HSLC and HSSLC examinations will be meaningless if their dreams are cut short by not supporting their education. Girls have proven time and again that they could excel in any field if given the opportunity. All they need is the same opportunity as everyone.