C Stone's letter on SLC failures (#54) in response to "A generation of failure" (#53) makes a strong point about this year's SLC results. There was perhaps much less opportunity to cheat this year due to parallel question papers particularly in Mathematics. But there are other reasons for the abysmal results this year:
- The short academic year for SLC students. Within eight months (July to February with holidays in between) the 10th grade course has had to be completed and the sent-up exams finished. Earlier, there used to be a full 12 month for preparation: February through January.
- Many text books were not in the market till well into August.
- There was a change in the curriculum. Two totally new subjects: Health Environment and Population and Social Studies were added, and there was hardly any teacher preparation for this.
- The Mathematics curriculum saw major changes, again without accompanying teacher training.
- But the most obvious reason for the failure (and it is very surprising that there is hardly any mention of this) is that students have to now pass in eight subjects rather than seven. With all these factors, how do you expect better results? I am shocked to hear that because 54 out of 81 schools in Morang District did not get the 15% pass rate that the government expects, there is going to be action against these schools. Why punish the schools for the government's bungling?
As Hemlata Rai says in "A generation of failure" (#53) the SLC results were a disppointment to large numbers of students all over Nepal. Many schools and colleges had taken provisional admission even before the results were out in order to grab best students. The total number of schools and 10+2 colleges have increased dramatically in the last few years. Despite such a dramatic increase in access to education, has the quality improved? Has anyone bothered to look into the quality all the 10+2's give to students? If not why the apathy and indifference? And why is a student who comes in the top ten position not able to do as well in a 10+2? Students with 1st division are only allowed to take Science as a subject in almost all the schools. Is it that the students who fail to get 1st division in SLC are not allowed to study science? Should not the students who secure 2nd division given chance to study science? If not, why not? Or is it a deliberate and intentional government policy to force them to go to India to study science?