KATHMANDU, August 10: When the National Examinations Board (NEB) postponed the Grade 12 examination without giving any alternative, a great confusion has arisen as to what will happen to the future of around 375,000 students. Education analysts say that the postponement of the examinations without any alternative has shown that the board has not prepared for the examination. The board had designated 4,335 examination centers for 375,000 students. The examination was scheduled to be conducted from August 15 to 21. That is, the board had stated that all the centers were home centers. The heads of the centers were instructed to use masks, sanitizers and maintain social distance while conducting the exams.
The board had asked the centers to arrange for individual seating for each examinee and health desk to conduct the exam in a safe manner in the physical presence of the examinees. Many high schools have already conducted pre-board exams in the last one week with physical presence.
But suddenly, based on the demand of State Minister for Health, Umesh Shrestha, the CCMC wrote to the Ministry of Education to postpone the exams due to the high risk of COVID. According to Tankanath Sharma, an educationist, the future of 375,000 students is in doubt as the board has postponed the examination on the basis of the same letter but has not made alternative arrangements. “The board has regional offices in all seven provinces. But the board could not give alternatives to the examinations. The indefinite postponement of the exams has jeopardized the future of the students,” said educationist Sharma to Nagarik. “The board did not mention anything about the possible alternatives. The board has not been able to rise above the three-hour traditional examination system.”
"The board does not seem to have the capacity to think of alternatives when there is a problem," he said. "The centralized system has been destroying the education sector." Education has not stopped in countries where the pandemic has hit the hardest. He is of the view that in Nepal also, the board should conduct the examinations in places where it is possible and adopt alternative methods where it’s not possible.
Another educationist, Balachand Luintel, said it was not appropriate for the board to postpone the exams without giving an alternative. He suggested that the examination be held after the health ministry prioritizes and vaccinates students and teachers. “The exams, which were supposed to be held in April, were postponed for three months. They should have conducted exams where it was possible,” he said. “The examinations of the CBSE of India and A Level of British boards were conducted in Nepal based on the grades assessed by the teacher. But the inability of the NEB to provide alternative methods means that the board has not done its homework.”
Swagat Shrestha, vice-chairman of the Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools’ Association Nepal (HISSAN) Central Committee, said that the private schools have conducted Grade 11 examinations in physical presence by adopting all standards of health safety. "Under no circumstances should the Grade 12 examination be conducted on the basis of internal assessment," said Shrestha. “The board should hold examinations by adopting alternative methods.”The postponement of the exams has caused stress to the students.
“The board should not have postponed the exams without giving any plan for the future,”said Durga Aryal, the member-secretary of the board, adding that the board will take a decision after evaluating the situation this month.