Maharashtra HSC: Mumbai division ranks lowest, academics blame online learning

Students in the Mumbai division placed last out of nine in the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) exams this year. The Mumbai division recorded a passing percentage of 90.91%. On Wednesday, the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Tertiary Education announced the results of the HSC exam.

Last year when board exams were canceled due to Covid-19, Mumbai ranked second with a passing percentage of 99.79%. The results were reported based on a formula designed to assess students on internal assessment and educational background.

City academics insisted on comparing this year’s results with those of 2019-20, the last time exams were held offline before the Covid-19 outbreak. The Mumbai division had then recorded a pass percentage of 89.35% and ranked sixth.

However, compared to 2019-20, students fared better this year. The performance of the Mumbai division, including Mumbai city and suburbs, Raigad, Thane and Palghar, is still the worst among the nine divisions.

Academics said several factors contributed to this.

A teacher from a junior college in South Mumbai said The Indian Express that one of the reasons was that students in Mumbai were learning in online mode. Many students were absent due to migration, while those still residing in Mumbai found it difficult to travel to their respective colleges as the trains were reserved for vaccinated people. The professor added that most colleges in Mumbai continued to teach online even after the state government allowed offline classes.

However, the council’s Mumbai branch chairman denied this. Nitin Upasni said The Indian Express that even when colleges could not start offline classes, students in Mumbai were sufficiently equipped for online learning. They could also take coaching courses.

Upasni said the results were a pure numbers game. The division had the highest number of students taking exams, which is reflected in the overall passing percentage, he said. This year, 323,563 students sat for the division’s HSC exams, with 294,164 students passing.

Upasni added that the Mumbai division had a stricter vigilance policy. This year, candidates made a significant number of non-academic errors – torn answer sheets, use of whitener, misspelled seat numbers, and personal messages to the paper checker written on the answer sheets.

While Mumbai’s overall passing percentage was the lowest, it has the highest number of students scoring 90% and above. Of the 10,047 students in the state who scored 90% and above, 2,766 of them were from the Mumbai division.

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