KATHMANDU, July 5: Although the government introduced letter grading system in School Leaving Certificate exams with much ado, it seems little attention was paid to accommodate an overwhelming number of students who are now eligible to enroll for grade 11 studies or apply for vocational courses.
Compared to the past, the number of students eligible to enroll in grade 11 has swelled this year owing to the letter grading system in the School Leaving Certificate exams under which no students is marked failed.
At a time when some 500,000 students are eligible to enroll in grade 11, there are only 3,669 higher secondary schools across the country.
Jaya Ram Thapa, managing director at Liverpool College, said that neither the government nor the private sector had been working to increase the capacity of schools to take in a large number of eligible candidates, hire more faculty staff, and upgrade facilities and infrastructure. “This may affect the quality of education,” he added.
Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesperson at the Ministry of Education (MoE), conceded that the government had done nothing to absorb the overwhelming number of students the letter grading system rendered eligible to pursue grade 11 studies.
“The government does not have any clear picture about it,” he said. “These problems should be addressed while formulating education regulations after the recently endorsed Education Act is formally endorsed.”
Most of the students who appeared in the first letter grading SLC exams will not be deprived of further study, according to the Ministry of Education (MoE). Anyone who obtains the minimum score--1.6 GPA with D+--in major subjects will be eligible to pursue law, arts, culture, music or different dialects.
According to the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT), all SLC appearing students would be eligible for skill training provided by CTEVT programs.
But the CTEVT has the capacity to accommodate only about 45,000 students annually. The number of students with D and E grades, the ones who are more likely to opt for skill training, is 105,000 this year alone.
Educationist Prof Dr Biddhya Nath Koirala said that the government has created chaos. “It will lead to an alarming situation. The public schools will be overcrowded and the business of private ones will boom. As a result, the quality of education will obviously deteriorate,” he said.
“The government has planned nothing to address the problem of the students and make the young generation productive,” said Koirala. “At first, MoE, HSEB and CTEVT should discuss how they are going to adjust the pressure of students,” he added. “Open school system for both academic and vocational education must be promoted.”