You read that right. There are 70,424 school students across the state of Tamil Nadu who didn't pass their board exams and are probably extremely distressed. But from a statistical viewpoint, Tamil Nadu's School Education department has something to cheer about - this is the lowest number of failures they've had in the last 5 years.
This is particularly heartening news because there were at least 70,000 more students who wrote the exams in 2017 when compared to the previous years. With 8.93 lakh students writing the exam through schools this year, it is also the highest number of students appearing for a public exam in the state's recent history.
Number of failures by year:
2017 - 70424
2016 - 71957
2015 - 78722
2014 - 76973
2013 - 95388
Compared to the horror result of 2013 when centum when down the drain and the number of failures skyrocketed because of a set of question papers that was deemed tough, this is a bountiful year for students across Tamil Nadu.
So are students actually getting better? Is that why the number of failures has come down? Yes and no, apparently. Maths teacher S Vanitha believes that the questions were so predictable this year that it was a surprise that more students didn't manage to get over the line, "Even average students have done well this time. It was so much along expected lines that most of them breezed through. This 92 percent pass percent is on the lower side if you ask me," she says.
Meanwhile, a high school teacher who was involved with correcting the papers in Arakkonam said that evaluators had been asked to go easy, bump up grace marks wherever possible and help students pass, as opposed to previous years. Go figure.