About 35 lakh students who were studying in Class 10 in 2021-’22 did not progress to Class 11, showed an analysis by the Union Ministry of Education, reported The Hindu. Of these 35 lakh students, 7.5 lakh did not appear for the Class 10 examinations and 27.5 lakh failed the test.

The ministry is conducting the analysis to to standardise exams conducted by various state and central education boards as recommended in the National Education Policy, 2020. The ministry has set up a National Assessment Centre for the exercise, reported The Hindu.

The analysis of state-wise data showed that results of students across 60 state education boards vary considerably from each other. “There is no level playing field for students in terms of standard and movement across the Boards,” Sanjay Kumar, the secretary of school education at the ministry, told The Hindu.

State boards have fewer trained teachers, with an average of 10 teachers per school, according to the newspaper. The experts at the ministry have advised more recruitment and that attention is given to training subject teachers.

“Open schools need to catch up and reforms are needed in open school exams,” Kumar said. “7.5 lakh students who are not appearing for exams might be potential candidates for skill-based training and can be retained in the education net.”

The analysis also showed that out 0f the 35 lakh students who did not progress to Class 11, only 4.5 lakh appeared for the examinations through the National Institute of Open Schooling. Even though there is low enrolment, the failure rates are high between 47% to 55%.

“There are a large number of students who are slipping through cracks after Class 10 and very few of these are going for open schooling,” Kumar said. “This missing cohort can be caught for skilling them or increasing open schooling enrolments.”

Of the total dropout, 85%, or nearly 30 lakh belong, to only 11 states – Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, , Rajasthan, Karnataka, West Bengal, Haryana and Bihar.

Kumar said that the analysis shows that that the percentage of students passing in Class 10 in Meghalaya is just 57%, in Madhya Pradesh, it is 61 and in Jammu and Kashmir, it is 62%.

“For states like Punjab, for instance, it is as high as 97.8%,” he added, reported The Hindu. “In Kerala, the passing rate is 99.85%. We would like to believe that students across States are bright, and given equal opportunities, can excel.”