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How 'Best of 5' rule for Maha SSC affects students

Last updated on: June 25, 2010 10:04 IST

After almost a month-long drama, finally, the cat is out of the bag. The Bombay High Court announced its verdict regarding the Maharashtra Government's 'Best of Five' policy for the SSC board on Wednesday, June 23.

As a result, 12.73 lakh SSC students have found themselves in a soup regarding junior college admissions. They will have to include all six subjects to compute their percentage in Class X. This is expected to lower their percentage by 2-13 per cent, which may impair their credentials for admission.

While the Maharashtra Government has decided to approach the Supreme Court to appeal the ruling, students across the state are grappling with what the consequences of the decision will be.

How SSC board students are affected

The SSC students, who had an extraordinarily high result percentage this year benefitting from the 'Best of Five' formula, however, think that the court decision has impaired their chances of getting into a good junior college, because of the drop in their percentage. They also find it extremely irresponsible of the government to implement a policy without consulting with other boards, as it later affects the admissions process.

Many SSC students are likely to be disappointed with the verdict, having prepared according to the 'best five' policy -- including the sixth subject will affect their scores considerably. But since this formula proved most beneficial to those who had scored considerably lower marks in one subject, students who have scored equally well in all subjects may not feel let down -- they are now one up on those who have not done well in all papers.

How the ruling affects students of other boards

Understandably, a wave of relief has spread through the 8,000-odd ICSE students of the state, who found themselves at a direct disadvantage with the state policy. It is noticeable that ICSE students take exams in seven subjects in Class X, as opposed to CBSE's five and SSC's six subjects respectively.

Earlier, the state had refused to consider the best five scores of ICSE students for junior college admissions on account of its belief that ICSE and CBSE are lenient in their marking systems, and it's because of this that the SSC students need to be brought on par with them. This meant that while SSC students could base their percentage on their five highest subject scores, ICSE students needed to base it on all seven subjects.

CBSE students would have remained unaffected by this, since CBSE offers only five subjects in Class X. While students of the Central Board have the option to study a sixth subject, it is not used to calculate their final percentage.

The lawsuit filed by some parents of ICSE students cried foul on account of "the stepmotherly treatment of students of other boards" and accused the state of bias towards SSC by implementing this policy.

Now that the HC has ruled in favour of ICSE board students, what remains to be seen is how this verdict affects the current state of affairs. On one hand, the high court ruling is being received as a fair judgment that will ensure equality among equals, by putting SSC students on the same footing as students from other boards.

How junior college admissions are affected

Since the admissions cannot be completed until the state decides what is to be done in this case (SSC students have already been handed their mark-sheets with their 'best of five' percentage), it has caused an additional delay in the FYJC admissions, with the state contemplating the issuance of fresh mark sheets with scores in all six subjects.

And while the SC appeal runs its course, it is possible that the admissions will be delayed even further, media reports stating that they could be pushed as far back as July 10 if the HC ruling stands.

For now, however, lakhs of students in Maharashtra can only wait with fingers crossed to see what the coming days hold.