Rumana Sultana tops HS exams in Bengal, scores 499 out of 500

Though the West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education (WBCHSE) — the board responsible for conducting Higher Secondary exams in the state — did not release any merit list because no formal exams were held this year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the marks scored by the students on the basis of an evaluation pattern, a Muslim girl student has topped the exams.

Forty-five days after the West Bengal government decided not to conduct Madhyamik (Secondary) and Uccha Madhyamik (Higher Secondary) examinations this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the WBCHSE on Thursday announced the results for Class 12 students on the basis of an evaluation pattern decided by the state-appointed expert committee and the council.

Rumana Sultana from Kandi in Murshidabad district is the first student in recent times who has become the unofficial topper in Higher Secondary exams from the minority community. A student of Raja Manindra Chandra Girls High School in Kandi, Sultana has scored 499 marks out of 500.

Rumana had ranked fifth in the 2019 Madhyamik exams by securing 687 marks out of 700.

Aspiring to become a scientist and discover something that will be instrumental in the development of the country, Rumana said, “I would have been happier if I could have sat for the exams physically. But considering the Covid situation, we all had to accept the evaluation pattern of the higher secondary council. I had secured good marks both in Madhyamik and Class XI annual exams.”

Daughter of a teacher couple, Sultana said that self-study has been the key to her achievement as classes could not be held on a regular basis owing to the pandemic.

“There were some online classes, but the teachers in my school were very cooperative and all doubts were cleared through telephonic conversations,” she added.

“Chemistry and biology are my favourite subjects and I want to pursue my higher studies in these two subjects only. If I crack NEET, I shall go for medical, but if not, then I would like to pursue a general stream with biology and chemistry. I would like to go for research and continue with that,” she said.

An avid reader of literature, Sultana has a penchant for writing poems, but she can’t devote much time to her passion because of study pressure.

“There was a time when I wrote poems for the school magazines and many other literary magazines. But nowadays I don’t get time to write poems. I feel bad but it is a helpless situation. Perhaps I need to sacrifice this to pursue my bigger dream,” she said.

Both her parents are school teachers, and her mother taught her English and Bengali.