Students from Mumbai division ranked the lowest of nine in the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams this year. The Mumbai division recorded a pass percentage of 90.91%. The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education declared the HSC exam results on Wednesday.
Last year, when the board exams were cancelled due to Covid-19, Mumbai ranked second with a pass percentage of 99.79%. The results were declared based on a formula designed to evaluate students on internal assessment and past academic record.
City academics insisted on comparing the results from this year with that of 2019-20, the last time that exams were held offline prior to the outbreak of Covid-19. The Mumbai division had then recorded a pass percentage of 89.35% and ranked sixth.
However, compared to 2019-20, the students have fared better this year. The performance of the Mumbai division, including Mumbai city and suburbs, Raigad, Thane, and Palghar, is still the worst among all nine divisions.
Academics said several factors contributed to this.
A professor for a junior college in south Mumbai told The Indian Express that one of the reasons was that Mumbai students were taught in online mode. Many students were away due to migration, while those still residing in Mumbai found it difficult to reach their respective colleges as trains were restricted to vaccinated people. The professor added that most Mumbai colleges continued to teach online even after the state government permitted offline classes.
However, the board’s Mumbai division chairman denied this. Nitin Upasni told The Indian Express that even when colleges could not start offline classes, students in Mumbai were equipped enough for online learning. They could also attend coaching classes.
Upasni said the results were a sheer numbers game. The division had the highest number of students appearing for the exams, reflecting in the overall pass percentage, he said. This year, 323,563 students appeared for the HSC exams from the division, with 294,164 students passing.
Upasni added that the Mumbai division had a stricter vigilance policy. This year, candidates committed a significant number of non-academic mistakes — torn answersheets, whitener use, seat numbers not written properly, and personal messages addressing the paper-checker written on answersheets.
While Mumbai’s overall pass percentage was the lowest, it has the highest number of students scoring 90% and above. Among the state’s 10,047 students who have scored 90% and above, 2,766 of them were from Mumbai division.