Monday, April 27, 2015

The Post-Board Stress

The Class X and XII board examinations are nearing to an end. While students will undoubtedly heave a huge sigh of relief, a pall of anxiety will now come over parents whose children took these exams. For those appearing for the Class X examination, it is time to choose streams which will set them up for their futures, not just academic but also professional, and this will depend largely on how much they score. Students looking for admission into better schools or schools that offer their choice of subjects for +2 have nervous days ahead as most schools have raised their cut-off percentage over the last couple of years.
In the last academic session, students with marks anywhere lower than 70% in their Class X examinations could not get admission to Bio-Science streams in some of the more sought after government schools here. They had to take up either Commerce or Information Technology instead. On the other hand, in some of the private schools, students securing low percentage [in the eyes of the school management] had to change schools as their own school did not offer streams into which they could be accommodated. All of this means additional tension and also continuing financial burden for the parents.
As colleges everywhere in the country keep raising the cut-off marks for admissions, the struggle only gets harder for those with low scores. There was huge hue and cry over the cut off marks for admissions in the Sikkim Government College in the past as the college administration set higher cut off marks for admissions. The college justifies such moves citing limitations of infrastructure.   
Another huge problem these first-time college goers, specially coming from the schools in the bastis will be that of finding suitable accommodation. Most of the colleges, both Government and private, are located in and around Gangtok. Rent even for less than rudimentary accommodation is high and facilities lacking [as mentioned in my earlier article].
Here, I would like to place some suggestions for both parents and students. Earlier, parents used to choose what their children pursued after they completed their X boards. Since times have changed, children should be allowed to choose their academic stream and future career themselves. They will have at least a two-month gap after the examinations. Those seeking subjects of their choice in +2 classes must search for schools and find out the cut off marks. Different schools have different cut off marks. Planning in advance will give them multiple options. Consulting with seniors will also give additional advantage.
Those completing their schooling and interested in pursuing higher studies outside Sikkim should make good use of the internet and find out about colleges across the country. Advertisements in newspapers must be verified carefully and special care should be taken while dealing with admission “agents”. The recent case of fraud by con artists claiming to mediate admission into Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology should be warning enough for admission seekers.
Sikkim Government College will probably set 50% or 45% as the cut off percentage for admission. Declaration of cut off marks in advance on the part of the College administration could make life easier for the both the students and the colleges. This would also help students with low marks to plan their higher education.
It is also advisable for students to opt for hostels or paying guest accommodation in the initial phase.  They should opt for independent rented accommodation only after becoming fully aware of the new environment.
For parents, it would help to pay frequent visits so that they know what their children are doing. Knowing their roommates, friends and keeping in touch with the house owner will reduce worries for the parents as well as be helpful in case of any emergencies.

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