Students appearing for matriculation and intermediate exams have long been in confusion for one single reason: why is the passing rate 33% specifically?
While some students are really happy about the fact that the passing marks percentage is less than 50%, others raise certain questions, in the beginning, of grade 9, some of which are:
- Why do we need 33% to pass our exams? Why not 34% or 32%?
- Don’t we require 50% marks to pass our examination?
- Is the 33% required to pass because most students in Pakistan are not really good in studies?
Well, going back in history we see that Pakistan eventually adopted the education system of the sub-continent. It is known that the first matriculation examination passed in sub-continent was conducted in the year 1858, after the war of independence of 1857.
Immediately after the examination was conducted, the question arose and everyone wondered what should be the passing marks criteria for a student appearing in exams? At this point, the British were consulted and they were asked about the passing marks for their local examinations. It was notified that the British set 65% marks as a compulsion for each student to achieve in order to pass his exams.
It was of general knowledge during that time that the people of sub-continent were half as intellectual and efficient as compared to the British. Hence, the passing marks were set to be 32.5% for all students from 1858 to 1861. After which the passing marks percentage was increased to 33%, in order to make the calculation of marks and percentages for results easier for the examiners. Ever since no one has tried to change this taxonomy of evaluation as we continue to go ahead with the same education system criteria which were set down almost two centuries ago!
Students in Pakistan today are very clever, highly intellectual, and the sky is not the limit but just the beginning for them. All they need is proper guidance for them, and an education system which will train them to soar higher. But it looks like our local education system is only facing a downfall. This is the reason why students today opt for Cambridge International Examinations (CIEs), instead of taking exams under the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.
The examiners and the higher authorities at HEC and BISE really need to look into the system of education in Pakistan. Only then will the future generation be able to help this country develop and prosper.