SEE Through The Results

The Office of the Controller of Examinations (OCE) published the results of this year’s Secondary Education Examination (SEE) Saturday. Despite implementing a provision of 25 per cent practical scores in all the subjects except Maths, the results have degraded by 6.5 percentage points this year. According to the OCE, 75.92 per cent students have scored between 1.65 to 4.0 GPA, down from 82.38 per cent last year. Three years ago, over 84 per cent students had their GPAs between 1.65 to 4.0. It is necessary to have a minimum GPA of 1.6 to pursue higher studies while those aspiring to study Science in Grade XI should have scored at least 2.0 GPA with a minimum of C+ in Science and Maths. When seen in this light, nearly 200 thousand students are not likely to get admissions in subjects of their choice while 58 thousand students scoring between 0.85 to 1.2 GPA won’t be eligible to study any subject. The latter group won’t be eligible to sit for competitive examinations conducted by the Public Service Commission either as the Commission has set 2.0 as the cut-off GPA to appear in such examinations.

It goes without saying that education, school education in particular, plays a crucial role in making or breaking the life of an individual. Ironically, most school children in Nepal, particularly those in the rural villages, lack an access to quality education and end up with poor grades in English, Maths and Science making them ineligible to pursue higher studies and forcing them to live a life marked by hardship and disappointment. There are several reasons behind this disheartening situation, the main being the dearth of dedicated and trained teachers and lack of adequate resources in the education sector. However, poor results in education sector cannot be attributed to low investment and and inadequate infrastructure alone. According to government sources, the state is investing about 16 per cent of the total budget in education, which is a sizeable amount. And many community schools do possess necessary resources to effectively deliver education to their students. However, the results hardly commensurate with the existing infrastructure and available resources. Why is the quality of education in community schools so poor? Besides the shortage of qualified teachers as mentioned earlier, education sector has also also been plagued by extreme politicisation; teachers are rewarded or punished on the basis of their political affiliation rather than their competence and performance and those having good relation with the major political parties don’t need to discharge their assigned duty.

What is the way out of this disappointing scenario? It is beyond dispute that investment and infrastructure do influence the results, but what counts far more is political will to change the situation. As long as political parties hesitate to free education from politics, there won’t be much improvement in the quality of education provided by community schools. The government requires to strictly enforcing a system of reward and punishment to make teachers and school management committees more accountable. It is necessary to restructure and reorient schools to produce qualified and competent human resource for the advancement of the country with proper arrangement of vocational education for students who are unable to do well academically; this will enable them to acquire skills for jobs so that they can take up income generating activities right in their villages. Simultaneously, it is imperative to expand industry to generate more employment opportunities for increasing number of youths who enter the job market every year.

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