By Ahmad Rashid Shervani
Are our children (children of the Urdu-speaking minority) going forward in education? If yes, how fast? Or, how slowly? Or, are they going backwards in education? Again, if so, how fast? Or, how slowly? I believe that the X board examination level is the first point at which a reliable assessment can be made to provide a dependable indication.
I have before me the X board examination results of 2016 & 2017 of 66 Urdu-medium High Schools of Telengana, most kindly sent to me by FEED (Foundation For Economic And Educational Development). Last year, in 2016, from 33 schools, 1197 students had appeared and 744 or 62.2% had passed. This year, in 2017, from the same 33 schools, 1272 appeared and 1002 or 78.8% passed.
The number of students appeared increased from 1197 to 1272. The increase of 75 numbers is 6.3%. This is a little more than commensurate with the annual birth-rate. However, Pass improved markedly from 62.2% to 78.8% and, due to this, the number of students passing the X board examination increased from 744 in 2016 to 1002 in 2017. The increase of 258 numbers is 34.7%. If our children can progress at this rate, soon the cry of our ‘educational backwardness’ will be a thing of the past.
But what about the other 33 schools? Last year, in 2016, from these 33 schools, 1398 students had appeared in the X board examination and 1078 or 77.1% had passed. This year, only 1210 appeared and just 707 or only 58.4% passed. The number ‘appeared’ decreased from 1398 to 1210, by 188 numbers or 13.4%. Annual birth-rate is about 5%. So, if the number of our children appearing for the X board examination in a year increases by 5%, we can say that, in this respect, our children have neither progressed nor gone back but are just where they were last year. But if the number reduces by about 13.4%, we can only say that our children have gone (5%+13.4%=) 18.4% further backwards in education.
And that is only as regards the number appeared. Why do students appear in any exam? Obviously, to pass. Last year, in 2016, from these 33 schools, 1078 or 77.1% had passed. This year, in 2017, only 707 or just 58.4% passed. The number passed decreased from 1078 to 707, by 371 numbers or 34.4%. At this rate, in less than three years, our educational backwardness will be at-least doubled and we will be more than twice as educationally backward as we are today.
[Ahmad Rashid Shervani is a renowned philanthropist, entrepreneur, educationist and community activist. He is Founder & Chairman of Bharat Sewa Trust, which focuses on Muslim education in India. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]