सोमबार, ०३ बैशाख २०८१
English शिक्षामा गत साता

Exam, exam !

The question of about unfair advantage and exploitation in the name of textbooks and learning materials is another issue. Curriculum development center should be asking to follow the curriculum.

मंगलबार, २० चैत्र २०८०

Kathmandu - Exam dominated last week's educational news. Like every year, especially the news regarding the School Education Examination (SEE) that started from March 28 and the news that Examination Control Office (ECO) of Tribhuvan University (TU) lost the student's answer sheets was in the last week. There were some news that the activities of Minister of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) Sumana Shrestha stirred the education sector.

The School Education Examination (SEE) conducted at the end of class 10 has started from last week dominated the news. A total of 504 thousand 414 examinees from 10 thousand 806 public and private schools are taking the exam. Out of which 250 thousand 772 are female students, 253 thousand 627 male  and  15 other genders. It is also mentioned in the news that 2 thousand 64 exam centers have been designated.

From this year pass threshold is 35 percent marks in written exam called 'theoretical exam' and 40 percent marks in practical examination, news quoted  the Examination Control Office. Previously, the minimum threshold was 35 percent marks all together.

There were news about people ranging 12 to 62-year-olds participated in the SEE; two teachers were arrested for helping students to copy answers from so called cheats? books? in Bara.

There was news that the Examination Controller (CE) who conducts the SEE examination cannot participate in the meeting related to the examination. The EC for SEE is appointed from Civil Servants and National Examination Board (NEB) employees for class 12th board exam . Gorkhapatra reported that they were not allowed to participate in the meeting related to the National Examination Board due to legal complications.

Although the Education Act provisions the 'school leaving certificate'  (SLC) examination to be conducted only at the end of 12th grade, the NEB has continued  to conduct the SEE  after grade 10 even after the law was enforced in 2016. SEE at 10 by the government would have to be redundant and each school should be administering grade 10 exam. However, it continues due to vested interests of private schools.  The private investment in school education is based on 10+2 system as the private schools promote league tables on the success of SEE to enroll students in grade +2. They needs something to attract students on grade 12. Another vested interest is the financial activities surrounding may it be in the name of printing question papers, allowance to government staff for administering exams and publication of results. Let the cost of parents in the process alone. This anomaly must be stopped. 

The news was published last week that exam results 183 students of the first year for Population subject conducted on May, 2023 has not been  published even after almost a year by the ECO of TU because the answer sheets of the student were lost. It is mentioned in the news that an investigation committee was to investigate  loss of 183 answer sheets from ECO.TU is going to retake the exam of the subject on May 2024 according to the news. Kantipur's editorial, suggests to punish the culprits to the extent possible and to make a structure so that such mistakes are not repeated.

Similarly, in another news, it was mentioned that the TU has decided to make the question papers of the undergraduate level now in both Nepali and English languages.
In last week, exam-related news and opinions comprise of 47.4 percent of the news items scanned.

We are conditioned to give higher importance to exams than studies.  Nepali bureaucracy also conducts the examination comparatively well. In exam periods, exam related educational news increases significantly, even though there are no special educational matters in it! This is the legacy of colonial education system. The British Empire needed a large number of highly intelligent but unthinking workers to administer colonies. Exam was obviously the best method. However, they did not trust teachers or administrators of colonies such as India. Because of this, the examination was strict, chiefs of exams used to be the Britons. Therefore, we believe more in certificates than the real knowledge of the person. In order to  make the certificate more trustworthy than the real person, the examination hassles have been institutionalized. Whether it is about SEE or losing exam papers it should be a simple phenomenon, something to  act about. But we are haunted by the colonial ghost to panic!

In another news, it was mentioned that the Curriculum Development Center has asked the schools to use only approved textbooks and teaching materials. The Center has issued a notice to all the Municipalities, public and private schools, asking them to use only approved teaching and learning materials.

This is another example of non-academicism prevailing. The question is not acceptance or rejection of reading material. The problem is not following the curriculum but dependence on the text book. The question of about unfair advantage and exploitation in the name of textbooks and learning materials is another issue. Curriculum development center should be asking to follow the curriculum. Issue of unfair benefits should be looked into by the administration.

It was reported that 21 people have applied for the post of Vice-Chancellor (VC) of Mid-West and Far-West University. 11 applications have been received for the post of VC of the Midwest University and 10 for the Far West University. It was mentioned in the news that the selection process of the VCs of both universities, which was postponed on February 18, started from March 26. 

It was reported that the 13th meeting of the Medical Education Commission has restarted the arrangement to allow PCL Nursing of CTEVT and undergraduate programs of the university to be conducted in one educational institution. It was mentioned in the news that new rules have been implemented by revoking the decision that only one of the two programs can be conducted. But it was reported in the news that conducting both programs by the same educational institution is against the Medical Education Act.

The Supreme Court has ordered to give the affiliation of B&C Medical College of Jhapa. On the 24th of January 2018, the government gave the letter of intent for the medical college. In the issue about not giving an affiliation even for 12 years, it was reported that the bench of Justices Kumar Chudal and Saranga Subedi has ordered for the affiliation. It was mentioned in the news that the B&C could not get affiliation because there is a provision in the law that one university cannot grant affiliation to more than 5 medical colleges. It was reported in the news that medical education campaigner Dr. Gobind KC suspected that the Supreme Court's decision on 27th of March will strengthen the chaos in medical education.

Along with tightening the visa for foreign students to Australia,  news came last week that educational institutions of Australia have adopted a policy of rejecting applications from abroad students. Similarly, with the tightening of student visas, another news came that some colleges have started closing in Australia. The Australian Ministry of Education has announced the closure of some colleges. It was mentioned in the news that among the closed colleges is the Kingston Institute run by Nepalis.

The news that MoEST Shrestha has suspended the Presidential Educational Reform Program was published last week. It is mentioned in the news that Minister Shrestha suspended the program after billions were spent on this program in the last five years, but the achievement was low and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority instructed to change the mode of operation of the program. It has been reported that Minister Shrestha called the principals of St. Xavier's, St. Mary's and Budhanilkantha schools in the Ministry in person to make the admission process transparent and credible when the admissions were called for the new academic session.

Similarly, Minister Shrestha released a video about Budanilkantha School's scholarship program through social media, there were reports of protests against the Minister for preaching and promoting Budanilkantha School!

Similarly, the news that Minister Shrestha asked for an explanation from 20 employees who leave before office hours in the ministry was also published.

In an article in Gorkhapatra, Shanti Krishna Adhikari commented that the education minister seems to be superior to the district education office focusing only on the appointment, promotion and transfer of school teachers. It was mentioned in the article that none of the Minister of Education has realized that s/he should look after the university, higher education and the overall education of Nepal. He suggested that the Minister of Education should be able to give signs of positivity  and improvement in the ministry she has taken charge of.

It was reported that the Ministry of Finance has managed the necessary funds for the reconstruction of school buildings that were destroyed due to the earthquake that occurred in Jajarkot on 3rd November 2023. According to the news report, the Ministry of Finance, the buildings of educational institutions will be reconstructed from the budget of the President's Educational Reform Program.

The first conference of Community School Management Committee Federation and Nepal Teachers' Federation held in Itahari, Sunsari has announced the launch of the national campaign 'We Will Improve Our School' news was published. It was said that this campaign was started by issuing a 26-point Sunsari Manifesto jointly by the both federations, mentioned in a news.

One year after the vacancy, Prof. Dr. Ghanshyam Bhattarai has been appointed at TU Service Commission Chairman, but since members of the commission has not been appointed for the last four months, the examination for new teachers and staff of TU could not been conducted. It was mentioned in the news that the government is running the process of making the commission without officials and hiring teachers and staff in TU on contract and partial basis on political access and making them permanent.

Similarly, there was also news that Ravin Lama, who assaulted TU Lecturer Prem Chalaune, has been arrested.

Similarly, After TU has allocated Rs 14.9 million for the construction of the Business Administration faculty building and Madhesh Province Government allocated Rs 9.7 million for the women's hostel of Thakuram Multiple Campus in Birganj, the construction work has resumed in the last 10 months. It was mentioned in the news that these buildings had been stranded for nine years after starting their construction.

It was reported that Janak Shiksha Material Center has started distributing textbooks from remote districts to deliver at the beginning of the new academic session to all schools 
There was news that Damak Municipality of Jhapa has decided to start education through English medium in all public schools up to class 5. The municipality has decided to do the necessary management so as not to impose any responsibility on the parents regarding English medium, mentioned in the news.

In the Online Khabar, Anju Bhattarai wrote an article revealing some of the basis for choosing a school, and suggested that teachers' qualifications, learning methods, priority given to extracurricular activities, and the curriculum taught in the school should be taken into consideration.

The purpose of this news review is to classify and synthesize the educational content of the week and provide objective comments from the point of view of social justice and creative pedagogy to the policy makers and stakeholders in one place. In this joint effort of Center for Education Policy and Practice (CEPP) and Edukhbar, daily newspapers Kantipur, Gorkhapatra and The Himalayan Times, online news portals Online Khabar, Setopati and Ratopati and Himalaya TV and Nepal Television are covered. This time the news from 23- 29 March 2024 are covered - Editor.