As a tenth grader who is supposed to take the SEE exam but cannot due to the coronavirus pandemic, a thought is always circling in my mind: Will the exams be canceled? When will the exams start? Almost half a million students across the country are thinking the same. This is one of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic in Nepal.
The SEE exam was supposed to start on March 19. However, the exam was postponed one day before the exam, until further notice. Since then there has been uncertainty about the exams. As social media and online news keep sharing updates about the SEE exams, students are still in a dilemma. Should the 4,82,219 grade 10 students take the SEE exam or not?
To begin with, the exam was postponed due to the coronavirus fears. As the lockdown keeps extending, there is no assurance of when this lockdown will end. Cases of the coronavirus pandemic in Nepal are increasing by the day. Most of the infected people are from rural areas where the borders of India and Nepal meet. Due to the lack of an antidote for the virus people are still getting affected day by day despite strict lockdown measures in the country. Even after adopting the practice of social distancing, usage of masks, sanitizers, the cases of coronavirus in Nepal is still rising.
Now, many things need to be taken into consideration when the government wants to conduct the SEE. Will the testing equipment be available for every student taking the SEE? What assurance can be given to each student and their guardians that there will be zero chances of the students being infected by the virus? How will the exams be conducted, in what kind of rooms and where will the students take the exam? What will be the reaction at the international level? And many more things have to be taken under consideration.
Many countries have canceled their national examinations to protect their young from the coronavirus pandemic. The Cambridge examinations in the United Kingdom, which is one of the internationally accepted exams, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. If that is the case then why can’t the government of Nepal do so as well? Even though online exams are going on to cover up the courses, in the case of Nepal where a majority of students have problems accessing the internet, is online exams a viable option? Absolutely not! It may only be viable to a place like Kathmandu where internet access is easily available but not in other places like Jumla, Humla. The government will not be able to raise funds for such a program when the world is facing a downfall in the economy.
If the SEE exam is rescheduled to a later date, then there could be another extension of dates because the venues for the exam must be decided, testing of every student will have to be done which will be lengthy since we are talking about more than four lakh students who need to be tested. Furthermore, when the exam starts there is no guarantee that none of the participating students will be infected from the coronavirus. Even if a student gets infected, there is a high chance that others will also be infected and after that there is only one possible outcome which is the spreading of the virus to a large scale and the possibility of deaths in the country.
Now, should the government be that ambitious to sacrifice the lives of its young? That would be a huge mistake. What will be the value of conducting the exams?
Do I want the SEE exam to be canceled? Yes, not just to decrease the burden on students but because of the virus that may cause great damage.
As a student of this level, I believe that the government should trust the schools in the entire nation and allow them to fill the application list of students who are going to grade 11 instead of using the results of the SEE exams. By this, the schools, as well as the students, take less pressure, and the chaos is solved as well. By canceling this year's SEE, the government can also save the lives of the 4,82,219 students. The government can use the money that would be spent on conducting the exam to provide support to those sectors that have been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Until the coronavirus pandemic is over, no major activities should be conducted.