With the Central Board of Secondary Education taking student-friendly steps to grade students hit by myriad disruptions originating in the pandemic, the Class XII result has brought a measure of cheer. The overall pass percentage has increased by 5.38 percentage points over last year to touch an all-time high of 88.8%. In a sensitive gesture, the term “fail” has been replaced by “essential repeat”. And for the sixth year, girls have performed better than boys.

But with great uncertainty about admission procedures in various higher education institutions, students are looking at tough months ahead. Streamlining of these processes is urgently needed. Even after admission, as universities continue to operate largely in online mode, supportive infrastructure for digital education is crying for upgrade and expansion. Without this, the digital divide will extract a very unfair toll from underprivileged students.

Also read: No. of students getting 95%+ in CBSE Class 12 surges 119%

Tough months also lie ahead for younger students across the country. The continued lockdown of schools can be stressful in various ways irrespective of class. But again, the suffering of poorer students needs urgent government attention.  Suspended mid day meals haven’t been adequately compensated, so nutrition has taken a hit. Four months into the pandemic it is inexcusable that this problem still hasn’t been systematically addressed. Clearly, the odds of progress in education dramatically weaken when hunger is gnawing at children.

Also, several low-cost private schools are looking at closure with parents struggling to pay the fees. This is a reminder that failure to reboot the economy will extract all kinds of costs down the line. Getting back on the growth path is essential for the children of India to stay properly fed and educated. Unless this is done the future is bleak.