Disconcerting trend! Odisha matric pass percentage on a freefall

The big fallout will be on dropout rate in classes 9 & 10th as Odisha still among bottom-10 states with high dropout rates in 9 & 10th classes nationally

Bhubaneswar: Notwithstanding the high-sounding proclamations on reforming the State’s matric exams every year, controversies like question papers going viral on social media prior to the start of exams have stuck as a glue with the Board of Secondary Education and the controlling authority School and Mass Education department alike.

However, the biggest nagging concern for the mandarins in Odisha School and Mass education department is the free fall in the pass percentage of the State’s matric exams over the years.

Sample the tailspin: The pass percentage in 2017 had zoomed to a record high in the State’s  history to over 85.28 per cent, since then, when the State government’s avowed objective was to record a pass percentage of over 90 per cent in subsequent years, the total pass percentage have been on a free fall mode as the pass percentage in 2018 dropped sharply by over 10 per cent to around 76.23 per cent.

And in the year 2019, the pass percentage in the matric exams in the State sliced further by over 5 per cent to decline to around 70.78 per cent.

In fact, this is the lowest ever pass percentage in State’s history since 2012, when the examination pattern changed to subjective and objective patterns of equal marks. In 2014, the pass percentage was 80.97 per cent, and the percentage remained static at around 80.93 per cent in 2015. In 2016, the pass percentage spiked to touch 83.72 per cent.

The sharp contrast witnessed in State now is when the pass percentage posted consistent rise in the period 2014 – 2017, a consecutive drop has been witnessed in 2018 and 2019.

Not only the pass percentage, the number of students securing A1 grade has dipped by a whopping around 32 per cent between the period 2016 – 2019. While over 1,733 students had secured Grade A1 in 2016, the number has now shrunk to mere 1,180 in 2019.

The  big implication of this decline reveals that quality of education imparted in schools in Odisha have been declining over the years.

However, the mammoth disconcerting trend about dipping pass percentage is a consistent dip could result in a spike in dropout rate in the higher secondary education system (9th -10th) in the State.

Experts are of the opinion that if pass percentage keeps on dropping, then students from the lower strata of the society in State will drop out from State’s senior secondary education system, which would then have a devastating ramifications on State’s skill and employment scenario.

According ASER 2018 report released this January, Odisha with a dropout rate of around 12 per cent is among the bottom – 10 states in the country that have maximum dropout rates in classes 9 and 10th. The dropout rate in the State in 2006 was a whopping 30 per cent and the pass percentage then was hovering at around 55-60 per cent. The dropout rates had shown a significant fall in the period of 2012-17, noted the report.