We all know the importance of Higher Secondary Education(HSC) in the Indian education system. Whether it’s building a solid foundation, appearing for an entrance test, pursuing a professional degree/ course after school or choosing a lucrative career, the success of it all hinges on one’s higher secondary education and its results. Today, in this article, we’re discussing Higher Secondary Education and everything you need to know about it. So, read on.
Secondary education in India begins after eight years of elementary education and is divided into two years of secondary education (classes IX and X) and two years of senior secondary education (classes XI and XII). At the end of the secondary phase (class X), students take a set of externally administered examinations from either a state or national (All-India) examination board. Students who pass the secondary examinations earn a certificate usually called the Secondary School Certificate or SSC. These students are eligible for senior secondary school. After SSC, the next big exam to come up is that of the HSC.
HSC- A brief background
The formation of the HSC structure in India can be attributed to the 1953 report of the Secondary Education Commission. After observing the curriculum and teaching methodologies, the low interaction between the teachers and students, undue importance to the learning of the English language, indiscipline, etc. the commission recommended a turnaround of the secondary education system to introduce diversity into the educational system at the secondary level.
The commission prescribed five years for primary education, then three years of lower-secondary education, thereafter four years of higher secondary, and then a dedicated three years for a first-degree course. Based on the commission’s recommendations, the Government converted the then existing schools to higher secondary multipurpose schools and in the first plan, 250 multipurpose schools were established.
Since 1989, all States in India have converted to a 12-year (Standard) elementary/secondary cycle. After two years of senior secondary school, students are again examined by their school’s affiliated board and, if successful, awarded the Higher Secondary (School) Certificate (HSC / HSSC). There are also examinations administered internally by individual secondary schools at the end of class XI.
There are a total of 47 state examination boards and three national boards. The curriculum for the Higher Secondary Certificate Examination (HSC) is also determined by these 47 state boards and 3 National Boards.
Here’s the list of National Boards
- Central Board of Secondary Education Board (CBSE)
- Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE)
- National Institute of Open Schooling Board (NIOS)
Here’s the list of State Boards
- Andhra Pradesh Board of Secondary Education
- Andhra Pradesh Open School Society
- Assam Board of Secondary Education
- Assam Higher Secondary Education Council
- Grameen Mukt Vidhylayi Shiksha Sansthan (GMVSS)
- Assam State Open School
- Bihar School Examination Board
- Bihar Board of Open Schooling & Examinations
- Uttar Pradesh Board of High School & Intermediate Education, Allahabad
- Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (Gwalior)
- Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education
- Rajasthan Board of Secondary Education
- Rajasthan State Open School
- Chhattisgarh Board of Education
- Goa Board of Secondary & Higher Secondary Education
- Gujarat Secondary Education Board
- Gujarat State Open School
- Haryana Board of School Education
- Haryana State Open School
- Himachal Pradesh Board of School Education
- Himachal Pradesh State Open School
- Jharkhand Academic Council
- Jharkhand State Open School, Ranchi
- Jammu and Kashmir State Board of School Education
- Jammu and Kashmir State Open School
- Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board
- Karnataka State Open School
- Kerala Higher Secondary Examination Board
- Kerala State Open School
- Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education
- Meghalaya Board of School Education
- Mizoram Board of School Education
- Nagaland Board of School Education
- Orissa Board of Secondary Education
- Orissa Council of Higher Secondary Education
- Punjab School Education Board
- Tamil Nadu Board of Secondary Education
- Tripura Board of Secondary Education
- Telangana Board of Intermediate Education
- Telangana Board of Secondary Education
- Uttarakhand Board of School Education
- West Bengal Board of Primary Education
- West Bengal Board of Secondary Education
- West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education
- West Bengal Council of Rabindra Open Schooling
- West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education
- West Bengal State Council of Vocational Education and Training
The overall number of students taking the Standard XII (HSC) Examination in 2014 – 15 was almost 11.42 million. Over 88 % of those students took state boards with just 11.93 % taking either the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and NIOS exams. According to media reports, a staggering 1.43 crore students registered for the Class XII board examinations with the various boards of education in 2017.
Students who pass the HSC examinations are eligible for university admissions.
Higher Secondary Certificates may also be known as:
- Higher / Senior School Certificate / Examination (most state boards)
- Pre-University Certificate (some state boards)
- Intermediate Exam (some state boards)
- All India Senior School Certificate (CBSE)
- Indian School Certificate (CISCE)
- Certificate of Vocational Education (CISCE)
- Senior Secondary Examination (All-India) (NIOS).
Understanding the Structure
State examinations vary considerably and generally require students to be examined in four or five subjects.
CBSE requires students to take five subjects, which are externally assessed in Year XII, plus some internally assessed subjects (general studies, work experience and physical and health education). Students must pass each subject to gain their full qualification.
CISCE award a pass certificate to candidates who pass four (or five) subjects (which must include English) at the same examination sitting and pass the internally assessed socially useful and productive work (SUPW) / work experience and community service. Students must pass each subject to gain their full qualification.
The Grading System
The most common grading scale used by most state secondary boards is percentile based:
|Second division||45 – 59%|
|Third / pass||33 – 44%|
|Fail||0 – 32%|
|Minimum pass mark||30 – 40%|
Special awards, such as distinction, honors or merit certificates, are given for grades higher than 70% or 75%, depending on the board. First division with distinction is particularly common.
Some state boards may use a relative scale to assess candidate performance rather than a fixed scale.
In Year XI, subjects are assessed internally.
In Year XII, subjects are assessed by external examinations and the paper is set by either state or national awarding organizations.
Some subjects also include practical externally set assessments which are mandatory.
Scope after HSC
Students who pass the HSC are eligible for university admissions, although some selective colleges or universities require separate admissions examinations. A score of at least 80% in the HSC from state boards of education may satisfy entry requirements, provided an appropriate standard of English has been attained.
Students with high scores (75%) from the CBSE and CISCE boards may satisfy entry requirements, provided an appropriate standard of English has been attained.
Admission to professional programs (engineering, architecture, medicine etc) is through competitive state – or national-level entrance examinations. These include the Joint Entrance Examination (Indian Institutes of Technology), the All-India Pre-Medical / Pre-Dental Examination, and the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination.
Some universities in India are changing their three-year programs to four-year degrees (replicating the US model), which may lead to an adjustment of entry criteria, e.g. University of Delhi.
That’s all for today, folks. Hope you found the information you were looking for. If you want us to add something to this article, please let us know your suggestions in the comments box below.
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