Exam Craze

Kathmandu - This week’s news and letters published in the assessed medias where dedicated to exams, its uncertainty, government’s insensitive rigidity and public calls for cancelation of certain exams to give relief to students who have remained in stress for far too long.

Abbreviations: MoEST- Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, KD-Kantipur Daily, THT-  The Himalayan Times, SEE- Secondary Education Examination , TU- Tribhuvan University, KU-Kathmandu University, NOU- Nepal Open University, MoD-Ministry of Defense

-    The Private and Boarding School Organization of Nepal, an umbrella organization of private schools in the country, had officially requested the government to cancel the examination of Grade X, also called Secondary Education Examination taken by the government. The call came following uncertainty over the nationwide lockdown imposed in a bid to control the spread of COVID-19. The umbrella organization had suggested that the government provide validity to the internal evaluation of students conducted by the respective schools. PABSON’s suggestion was announced while the government was seeking to gradually open schools. Education Minister was reported stating the government was preparing to ask schools to release the results of grade I to IX and begin admitting students in newer graders. PABSON, in the press release had stated that the SEE had caused mental stress and confusion among students and guardians.

-    A letter to the editor suggested reprioritizing budget in education for the need of the hour. It also called for closure of unnecessary government institutions in different levels whose funds can be redirected to support higher budget allocation in other factors of education. The expert appealed that the budget should empower local government’s capacity to mobilize schools education system as public school’s won’t improve with strengthening local government’s role in education.

-    An editorial suggestion that SEE is not a structure without alternatives and the government should consider alternative recognizing the reality of the present situation. The editorial expressed concern over the rigidity of the National Exam Board’s focus on conducting exams and failing to realize the risk and anxiety it creates among students.

-    Education ministry remained rigid and insensitive about the overall wellbeing and welfare of the students, their guardians and thus the larger part of the society. The ministry stated that the national policy restricts SEE to be conducted through any-other way then from written exams. The ministry states students to continue to stay prepared as exams will likely take place right after 2 weeks from the opening of the lockdown.

-    Letters to the editor had stated this week as well that the stress to students over exam’s uncertainty was unnecessary.

-    Education and Health Committee of the House of Representatives had directed the Ministry of Education to ensure that no schools shall admit students, run classes and charge fees until the situation returned to normalcy. Guardian Association of Nepal, said the most effective measure to tackle the situation was to provide textbooks to all the schools as students could begin their studies with the help of parents, elder siblings, volunteer teachers or even government teachers in their community, which would at least create learning environment for students.

-    Gandaki Province government was preparing to increase its budget for the education sector in the upcoming fiscal to allocate more budget to the education sector to make schools and teachers technology friendly. As the lockdown continues, publishing results and starting classes at community schools have been difficult due to technological problem. The province stated they are going to spend more money to make community schools techno-friendly.

-    Byas Municipality has urged schools to initiate the admission process by maintaining social distancing for the upcoming academic session in the light of the coronavirus pandemic in Tanahun. The meeting along with principals of schools made decision to publish all the results of final examinations of students from grade I to IX by May 10 and initiate the new admission process by May 23.

'Education this Week' is a joint effort put to analyze the press coverage of education in Nepal’s selected print media published in Kathmandu. The main aim of this effort is to identify and explain major education issues picked up by the media and give back and foreground of the news. This, we believe, will help policy makers and other responsible people to keep abreast with ongoing concerns and discussions on and around education. EduKhabar, in collaboration with the Center for Educational Policies and Practices (CEPP) , has produced this analysis based on the news printed in Kantipur (Nepali) and The Himalayan Times (English), Dailies between May 6-12, 2020 (Baisakh 24-30, 2077) - Editor.

Read this analysis in Nepali : परीक्षाको लगाव

Read last week’s analysis: Uncertainty about exam, admission and online classes

All analysis read by this link : Education This week