Govt makes whimsical decisions on SEE

Published On: January 17, 2024 11:15 AM NPT By: Ruby Rauniyar

KATHMANDU, Jan 17:  School level is the starting point of learning for children's future. A person's future is usually determined by what they learn in childhood. Examinations are important for measuring and evaluating the learning of a person. In this sense, any test administered to students at school level is necessarily linked to their learning.

Shyam Prasad Acharya, a researcher at the Curriculum Development Center, believes that the issue of who will take the exam is secondary in the field of teaching and learning. The Secondary Education Examination (SEE) of Class 10 has been removed from the School Education Bill-2080 BS, which was recently submitted for discussion in the Parliament.

According to Acharya, the education system is developing in Nepal, where the examination can be removed or retained at someone’s will. According to him, there has been no study or research on the removal of SEE. “Not only this, currently there is no study-research about the minimum 'benchmark' of 35% in each subject to pass class 10 established by the National Examination Board,” he said.

Acharya is of the opinion that any system in the educational field is imposed without any definite basis in Nepal. He also mentioned that exams should not be developed as a big burden, but should not be removed either. He suggested that SEE should be done compulsorily. He says that such suggestions have been made on the basis of study and research.

According to the studies conducted by the National Center for Quality Learning (NASA) on the learning achievement of school-level children, the learning achievement of students based on classroom teaching is decreasing. In 2017, NASA measured the learning achievement of Nepali, science and mathematics among children studying in class 8.

According to which, the minimum learning achievement of children that year was 46 percent in mathematics, 44 percent in science and 69 percent in Nepali. Another study conducted by NASA in 2020 showed that minimum learning achievement has decreased. The study conducted on students of class 8 showed that the learning achievement of mathematics has dropped from 46 to 32 percent, science from 44 to 38 percent and Nepali from 69 to 59 percent.

Researcher Acharya said that when the data shows that the achievement level of children has decreased from classroom learning, there should be emphasis on improving the learning level of students at least through the examination.

“Exams definitely develop reading habits. Students become studious by being forced to face the challenge of exams," Acharya told Republica, "Even the data of NASA has shown that the learning level of school-level children is weak."

He emphasized that the standards should be set for minimum learning for children. “Who will take the exam is secondary. Instead, let's make a standard of what should be the minimum learning requirement for children, and let's set education policies accordingly,'' he said.

Stakeholders have been demanding that there should be a country-friendly education policy.  Lakshmi Kishor Subedi, general secretary of the Confederation of Nepalese Teachers (CNT) and science teacher at Geetamata School in Dallu, Kathmandu said that the 61-point amendment proposal submitted by the CNT to the parliament also mentioned that SEE should be conducted compulsorily.

"NEB has kept a 35 percent benchmark. While setting such benchmarks, the board should have analyzed at least the district-level exam conducted in class 8 in the past, NASA's learning achievement data and SEE's past data. However, the benchmark is set haphazardly instead,” said Subedi adding, “The more standardized tests are done at the school level, the better the level of learning. It is wrong to remove SEE at the behest of a donor agency without a specific reason. The CNT has suggested that grade 5, 8, 10 and 12 exams should be taken at the school level.”

Besides this, the question of whether to conduct the SEE and whether it’s responsibility should be given to the province is being raised. It is said that this issue surfaced due to the pressure from the donor agencies. The donor agencies have maintained that SEE should be given to the provinces.

Stakeholders are of the opinion that the responsibility of SEE can be given to municipalities if they create standards for it. Chairman of the NEB, Dr. Mahashram Sharma said that SEE is conducted in many countries of the world. He emphasized that SEE should also be maintained as it will improve the classroom learning of the children at the school level.

"In the world, China, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the UK and other countries conduct standardized exams at the school level up to four levels," Dr. Sharma said, "The liberal class policy has resulted in children losing the habit of reading and learning.”

If the NEB conducts a standardized examination in class 12 at a time interval of four years after taking the standardized test in class 8, the current pass result of 50 percent will also come down to 30 percent.

According to Nandlal Paudal, SEE controller of the NEB, due to the liberal class policy implemented by the government, children's learning is weak and the habit of reading is also disappearing.

“If SEE is removed, the dropout rate of children will increase even more. The challenge is also added in the management of records related to SEE,” said Controller Paudel, “The quality of manpower produced up to class 12 will decline. Countries around the world are conducting standardized tests in grades 8, 10, 11 and 12 at the school level. If we do not take SEE, the results of class 12 will drop from the current 50 percent to 30 percent.” 

Leave A Comment