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Lockdown, internet shutdown couldn’t stop these Kashmir girls from scoring 100% in Class 12

While Ishrat Muzaffar (science) and Khushboo Nazir (arts) have topped their fields with 100% score, Sabeera Rashid (home science) scored 98%.

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Srinagar: Girl students have for years outperformed boys in the Jammu and Kashmir board exams, but the Class 12 results declared earlier this week showed they had pulled off an even more special feat this time. 

The fields of science, arts and home science have all been topped by girls, the first two with a perfect score. 

The past year offered students across India an additional challenge as schools were shut down and classes shifted online in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.  

Speaking to ThePrint, the toppers, Ishrat Muzaffar (science), Khushboo Nazir (arts) and Sabeera Rashid (home science), all 18, discussed how they overcame challenges such as internet restrictions to ace their exams. Each of them also discussed the career paths they aim to pursue.

Also Read: Kashmir teacher, who uses scrap material to educate poor kids, selected for national award

Doctor, civil servant, nutritionist

Ishrat Muzaffar, who scored 100 per cent in the science stream, wants to be a doctor. 

“I was sure of getting good marks but a perfect score was definitely a surprise for me and my family,” said Ishrat, a Srinagar resident. “I have to thank Almighty for this feat and keep praying that I am blessed with success in the future,” she added.

The dream to be a doctor is Ishrat’s own, and not driven by family pressure, she said.

“I have always loved science and have been fascinated by accomplished scientists alike Albert Einstein and Isaac Newton. But professionally I have always wanted to be a doctor,” she added. “I believe that this profession serves a link between God and people. It is doctors whom people trust after God and I want to uphold this trust.” 

The lockdowns of 2019 (after the scrapping of Article 370) and 2020 (Covid-19), coupled with internet restrictions — imposed frequently amid tensions in parts of the Valley — presented challenges “but I sat myself down and ensured that my self study makes up for the lost time”. 

“That is not to say that students who have scored less than I did could not cope well or that self-study alone negated challenges such as no internet,” she added. “Students react differently to emerging situations. My wish is that students be provided a stable environment to achieve their dreams.” 

Khushboo Nazir, whose parents are farmers, is the first in her family to complete Class 12. For others, studies could not go past Class 10. She hopes to join the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS).

“I am currently an arts student and will perhaps study political science in my graduation. But my dream is to become a KAS officer,” said Khushboo, who also scored 500 out of 500. 

“I knew for sure I will score more than 450, but 500 was like a dream that I had not even dreamt,” added Khushboo, a resident of Shalagam village in the Bijbehara region of restive south Kashmir. Her school is located eight kilometres from her home.

“Our village has connectivity issues but my resolve was strong. One major problem that I faced was when we had to take online classes. I didn’t have a smart phone so my uncle told my father to buy one for me. Then the internet restrictions caused a lot of inconvenience,” she said. “Even today, there was an encounter in our area and internet has been shut. I knew self-study will hold the key and it did.”

For Sabeera Rashid, a score of 98 per cent in home science is an answer for the family members who discouraged her from taking the subject. 

“People would always discourage me by saying that home science does not have much scope. I think it is not only their fault that they do not know the potential of the field,” she said. “Our education system has not explored this field fully. I decided I will not get discouraged.”

She seeks to pursue her graduation in home science as well, but has yet to make up her mind about her career. 

“My priority, of course, is to be a dietitian or a nutritionist and work in the health services. But that does not mean I cannot chose to be a entrepreneur in food services or confectionery making,” she said. “People are now learning to eat healthy and it is a good field to explore. I also plan to study for the civil services and perhaps explore service in fields that interest me,” she said. “There is much left to do,” she added.

Students of the Jammu & Kashmir board have registered an 80 per cent pass percentage. While the pass percentage is 78 per cent for boys, it is 83 per cent for girls.

Also Read: 17 J&K, Ladakh candidates crack 2019 UPSC civil services exam, 8 to join IAS, IPS & IFS


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