DUBAI // Hanumanth Jayakumar took one look at his computer this morning and his heart jumped for joy.
With a score of 98.6 per cent, the teenager was the UAE’s top pupil in India’s crucial CBSE exams.
“I am delighted with my scores,” said Hanumanth, who registered the mark in the science stream and who now wants to go on to study computer science at university.
“When I saw my scores this morning online, it took a few seconds to sink in. Then I just enjoyed the moment with my parents and sister.”
His recipe for success, unsurprisingly, was hard work.
“I gave my best and did as much hard work as possible. I am really thankful to God.”
Hanumanth, 17, a pupil at the Indian High School in Dubai, now hopes to go to either the University of Waterloo or Toronto, in Canada.
“I have written entrance exams in India but Waterloo and Toronto offer the best computer programmes. India, however, is still an option.”
In the UAE, 3,848 pupils from 30 schools took the Central Board of Secondary Education exams, and 3,819 passed – 99.2 per cent.
Several of Hanumanth’s 462 classmates were also among the top-performing pupils.
Odelyn Barreto scored 97 per cent in commerce and Aysha Siddiqua scored 95.6 per cent in humanities.
The school recorded 100 per cent pass results, and more than 33 per cent scored more than 90 per cent.
“It is very encouraging to see our students surpass all past examination records with their exemplary performance,” said Ashok Kumar, the school’s chief executive.
Revathi Sukumaran from Our Own Indian School topped the humanities stream in the UAE with 95.8 per cent. “I was very scared while preparing,” said Revathi, who aced psychology and entrepreneurship with full marks.
“Teachers and parents in schools have a lot of expectations and you want to live up to it. Also, it doesn’t help when you don’t know who is going to correct your paper. You might be a good student throughout the year but you have to do well in those three hours.
“It’s an experience. It teaches you to cope with the pressure and compete. I took up the challenge.”
Revathi, 17, who wants to study psychology in India, could hardly sleep the night before her results. “I was so excited and scared to sleep.”
About 1,062 pupils from Indian schools operated by Gems education group took the exams, of whom 19.7 per cent scored an average of 90 per cent. Abinaya Ravichandran from Our Own English High School in Sharjah scored 97.8 per cent in the science stream, while Farseena Basheer from Our Own Indian School in Dubai achieved 96.4 per cent in the commerce stream.
The Emirates National School in Sharjah also registered a 100 per cent pass rate. Their top science student, Manas Murali, scored 94.8 per cent. In commerce, Aravind Rajasekharan came first with 94.2 per cent.
About 136 pupils from the New Indian Model School in Dubai took exams in the science and commerce streams and all passed.
Mufeeda K came first in his school with 95 per cent in science, and Aysha Khatoon scored 93.6 per cent in commerce.
In India, overall results painted a picture of improvement. Rama Sharma, a CBSE spokesman, said the pass rate had increased by 1.91 per cent from last year’s results.
“Girls have outshone boys this year, too,” he said. The pass rate among girls was 87.98 per cent, compared with 77.78 per cent for boys.
The annual tests are notorious for heaping pressure on children from results-orientated Indian families.
The scores determine admissions to colleges in India and the pressure of studying and expectations surrounding results have been blamed for several youth suicides every year.
Despite efforts to help pupils with a phone counselling line, a 17-year-old jumped from the fifth floor of a government building in Bhopal this morning after failing her exams.
* Additional reporting by IANS