The Senior School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) results declared on Friday saw a decline of 5% from the previous year’s results. This year the pass percentage stands at 51.93 % down 5% from last year’s 56.9 6%. This is attributed largely to the poor performance of students in Garo Hills which averages between 26-28 % only. This calls for serious introspection by the Meghalaya Board of School Education (MBOSE) and for the Education Department as a whole. Why is it that after attending school regularly for the whole of 2022, students have still performed so poorly? Is it a cumulative effect of students returning to school after a two year hiatus? Are students yet to adapt to the classroom atmosphere and the real classroom learning? Without any survey it will be difficult to establish the reasons for the climbdown.
The MBOSE officials however, appear sanguine about students of government run schools having performed much better than in the past. Also, many of the schools affiliated to MBOSE have got 100% pass percentage. As expected, schools in East Khasi Hills and West Jaintia Hills scored much higher than their counterparts in the other districts. Another factor that has led to the decline in the results could also be linked to smartphone addiction. Every parent goes through this agony of having to wean the children from their friend and confidante – their very world in fact. Yet the smartphone is an educational tool if used for the right reasons and at the right time. Smartphones have started competing with the sleep of students and adults as well.
The other important aspect relates to the MBOSE textbooks especially at the HSSLC level. Teachers have detected errors and the books are not relatable to our students here, whether in terms of food habits and culture. Education should be culturally appropriate and students in the rural areas should be able to comprehend the concepts that their urban peers do. But that does not appear to be the case. Rural schools are known for poor infrastructure and poorer teaching methods. Meghalaya is paying the price for having appointed teachers not because of merit but because of their political affiliations and/or other considerations. In most missionary run school teachers are appointed on the basis of their religion rather than their competence. There are pressures and pulls from the members of the Managing Committees to appoint certain individuals and reject others. In fact, a time has come to start cleaning up the Managing Committees and appoint as members people who have some idea of how educational institutions should be run and also the kind of text books that will elicit curiosity from students. There has to be a connect between the books, the teachers, the students, the classroom and the institution. A disjuncture in any of the above results in poor educational outcomes.