Shocked by the declining pass percentage in Madhya Pradesh's high school examinations, state Education Minister Archana Chitnis has ordered a high-level probe to find out the reasons for the poor results, said official sources. After reaching a record high of 57.88 pass percentage last year, only 35.33 % of regular students passed the 2009 examination, conducted by the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE).
The performance by private students was even more dismal, with only 8.9 % of them passing, compared to 25.07 % last year. The probe committee has been asked to submit its report within a fortnight. Soon after the declaration of results Saturday, Chitnis chaired a departmental meeting to find out the reasons for the poor show and even directed officials to initiate a process to exclude teachers engaged in board classes from election duty, an official present at the meeting told sources on condition of anonymity. 'The minister held election duty of teachers in both assembly (in 2008) and the current parliamentary elections responsible for the poor results. She said for the next year books had been made available in all government schools before the commencement of the session from April 1, and thus the results are expected to improve,' said the official. Chitnis is also said to have apprised Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of her decision. MPBSE secretary in charge Snehlata Srivastava straight away blamed the prolonged election process and insufficient training for teachers in accordance with the changed syllabi for the decline in the pass percentage. However, a large number of school principals claimed the fall in pass percentage was due to the board's decision to permit students having less than 65 percent attendance to appear in exams.