Government revokes earlier plan to conduct grade 11 exam at national levelExperts say the education system cannot run on an ad hoc basis.
In what looks like yet another example of policy inconsistency, the Curriculum Development Centre has revised its one-year-old decision regarding grade 11 examinations.
The Centre last year approved a curriculum framework for the school level, which envisioned that the Central Examination Board would conduct grade 10 and 12 examinations at the provincial and central levels, respectively, while the respective schools would hold class 11 tests on their own. The policy was supposed to be implemented from the current academic session.
The new provision was introduced in line with the eighth amendment to the Education Act in 2016 which restructured the school education in two categories—basic (grades one to eight) and secondary (grades 9 to 12).
Lekha Nath Poudel, director general at the Centre, said the policy was revised based on the suggestions from school operators and teachers.
“Schools and teachers wanted the board to conduct the exams. They are worried that students wouldn’t study if the tests are conducted at the school level,” Poudel told the Post. “The concerned parties were also worried about the standard of the tests if every school were to hold them separately.”
Private school operators say they were consulted before the revision in the policy. They stood for the board exam fearing that students give up hard work when schools start conducting examinations on their own, they said. “The students could take the tests for granted if schools start conducting them,” Lok Bahadur Bhandari, general secretary of Higher Institutions and Secondary Schools' Association Nepal, told the Post.
He said the students stopped working hard after the letter grading system of evaluation was introduced for Secondary Education Examinations because everyone thought no one would fail the test.
Bhandari said they are concerned if a similar trend would repeat in grade 11 as well if the schools were to conduct the exams on their own.
Education experts, however, say the crucial decisions in the education sector should be taken after proper homework and consultation.
“Why was the provision introduced if it had to be revised within a year?” said Binaya Kusiyat, a professor at Tribhuvan University who has conducted many studies on school education. “The education system cannot run on an ad hoc basis.”
Kusiyat said though there is no set standard—whether the national board should conduct the grade 11 examinations—it would have been better if schools were allowed to conduct the tests.
“If the board conducts the tests of grades 10 and 12, it wasn't essential to increase its burden by adding grade 11. Grade 11 tests are conducted by schools themselves in many countries including India,” he said.
The centre has also decided to reduce the number of compulsory subjects to three from four as envisioned last year. Earlier, Nepali, English, Social Studies and Life Skills Study were compulsory subjects for grades 11 and 12. Now, grade 11 students will have to study Nepali, English and Social Studies as compulsory subjects while those from class 12 will be studying Nepali, English and Life Skills Study. In addition, students will have to choose three other optional subjects.
Private schools had been objecting to the provision of having four subjects as compulsory. Till now only two subjects are compulsory. The centre is currently preparing new curricula under the revised framework. If the government’s plans work, the new framework will be implemented from the next academic year that commences in April 2020.