Telangana students struggle amidst Intermediate board’s apathy

Hyderabad: The Telangana State Board of Intermediate Education (TSBIE)’s recently conducted 1st-year exams resulted in 51% of the students from the 2020-21 batch across the state not securing the minimum passing marks.

In fact, if the data is anything to go by less than 30% of students from Medak and Vikarabad passed the exams while most students were unable to secure the requisite marks. On Friday, a teenager died by suicide in Nalgonda district by jumping in front of a moving train as she was unable to perform well.

“80% of my classmates failed, including me. Even the ones who passed, just managed to scrape through,” said Raghu* a student studying MPC (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) at Sri Krishnaveni Degree College in Adilabad district.

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Raghu, along with scores of other students finds themselves in this difficult predicament. They were unable to comprehend their classes, owing to the online medium and as a result of faulty internet were on occasion not able to access their classes either.

“The network would suddenly go off and I wouldn’t be able to study. I did some agriculture works when I was unable to attend classes. Now the government wants to conduct the 1st year and 2nd year exams simultaneously and the pressure on us has increased.” he further added.

The state board is considering holding the re-examination for the 2020-21 batch in March 2022 alongside their 2nd-year exams. This would mean that the select students would have to write their 1st year and 2nd-year exams simultaneously.

Another student, Lokur* from the Krishnaveni college in Kothagudem added that “There is no internet in our village at all and hence I could only manage to purchase books and study by myself but that wasn’t enough. My only option now is to apply for reevaluation or write all the exams in March.”

Speaking to Siasat.com, Telangana National Student Union of India’s (NSUI) president Venkat Balmoor remarked that while he and his colleagues went to meet the Secretary of TSIBE, Omar Jaleel, the student activists were picked up and detained in Narayanguda police station. He remarked that Jaleel agreed to the meeting but reneged in the end.

“We were mainly concerned about the future of these students. The syllabus was not over and the irregularity in classes due to COVID-19 makes it worse. Aside from the student in Nalgonda and another in Nizamabad has taken his life,” he added.

Unsurprisingly, educators, activists and parents across the state had spoken against the state’s decision to hold exams in the current climate. The NSUI wrote a representation to the TSIBE but to no avail.

Balmoor claims that at least 80% of the 51% of students who failed, came from rural, impoverished backgrounds. “With 2nd year exams due in three months, the students are likely to feel pressurised and could resort to drastic measures.”

This is not the first time that the pandemic has adversely impacted education in Telanagana and across the world. However, as Lokur remarked, “If the rules are not relaxed in the state at this juncture, this could very well be the end of their education.”

As things stand, the TSIBE has not announced any change in the upcoming exam schedule or offered assurances of promoting the students. With 51% of teenagers affected, the issue is proving to be a considerable problem.

Despite repeated attempts from Siasat.com, the secretary of TSIBE remained unavailable for comment.

(* names of students have been changed to protect their identity.)

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