KATHMANDU, July 16: Almost all schools operating Grades 11 and 12 have forced their students to choose subjects against their interest at a time when the classes of Grade 11 are scheduled to begin this week.
The schools are forcing the students to choose subjects from a group of limited subjects such as science, humanities, management, education and law. The National Examinations Board (NEB) has not defined the school system under any streams, allowing the students to select any three subjects from six groups (one from each) apart from the compulsory subjects (Nepali and English).
Samiksha Sharma, who completed Grade 10 from St Paul International School of New Baneshwor, desperately searched for a school as per her choice of subjects but her attempts went in vain. On the one hand, St Paul does not operate Grade 11 and 12 as per the law while about 5,500 schools across the country operate Grades 1 to 10. On the other hand, the schools forced Sharma to choose the subjects taught at those schools.
“I wanted to study Economics, Travel & Tourism, and Agriculture,” said Sharma. “But no one offered me to choose these subjects,” she said. “Instead, they would force me to choose from 'available subjects',” she added.
Durga Aryal, director at the NEB, said that the board has not restricted Grade 11 and 12 to be confined under any stream. “The school level education should be open for all subjects as per the students' choice. We are for it,” he added.
The schools claimed that they could not offer all the subjects as required by the rules. “Many schools don't know about the rules. Stream-wise education was practiced earlier. Schools have still been practicing it,” said Bijaya Sambahampha, president of the Private and Boarding Schools Organization Nepal. “We have limited resources and teaching staff. So we are unable to offer all subjects and ask the students to choose subjects of their choice,” he said.
There are 35,222 schools including 9,379 secondary level (9-12) schools, according to the Department of Education (DoE). A total of 3,669 schools are running Grades 11 and 12. Among them, 295 schools have operated only Grades 11 and 12 against the spirit of the Education Act, while 3,175 schools run classes from Grade 1 to 12.
Sambahamphe claimed that only about four dozen schools were still operating only Grades 11 and 12.
Of the 295 schools operating only Grades 11 and 12, one hundred are government schools and the rest are private. The schools, which run only Grades 11 and 12 should provide the entire school level education or at least Grade 9-12, said the government officials. “Running only Grades 11 and 12 is illegal,” said Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman for the Ministry of Education. “We will take action as per the law,” he added, “The draft of the Education Regulation, which has included these concerns, is yet to be approved from the Cabinet.”
However, the government, which ordered the schools operating only Grades 11 and 12 to run the entire school education nine years ago, has failed to implement the rules effectively.
The latest amendment to the Education Act that came into effect a year ago has defined education up to Grade 12 as school level education. It has provisioned Grade 0 to 8 as the basic/elementary level and Grade 9 to 12 as the secondary level. Earlier, the secondary level education was confined to Grade 10.