As uncertainty grows over Grade 10 finals, calls grow louder to scrap SEEIt is too early to conclude the exam cannot be conducted, officials say.
After private schools and the non-governmental organisations working in the education sector, lawmakers also have suggested the government to scrap the Secondary Education Examination and authenticate internal evaluations to promote Grade 10 students.
The final board exam, which was scheduled for March 19, was postponed indefinitely five days before the government on March 24 imposed a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.
It remains uncertain when the 482,219 students, who had registered for this year’s finals, will be sitting the test.
Speaking at a meeting of the Health and Education Committee of the Lower House on Wednesday, Nepal Congress lawmaker Gagan Thapa said the uncertainty of the exam has offered the government an opportunity to think about permanently cancelling the test.
“We don’t need the SEE in the present format as there’s a national board in grade 12,” he told the meeting. “This is the right time to change the modality of this test.”
Nepal Communist Party lawmaker Bhairab Bahadur Singh also seconded Thapa's view.
He said the SEE should be conducted as any other regular school term tests. “We need to review the Grade 10 board exam now,” he said.
While lawmakers Thapa and Singh have suggested scrapping the SEE permanently, the private schools and the organisations working in the education sector have proposed that the government validate internal evaluation to promote the Grade 10 students only for this year.
On Tuesday, the Private and Boarding Schools’ Organisation, Nepal (Pabson), an umbrella body of the private schools, had asked the government to authenticate the internal evaluations and issue certificates accordingly.
The Pabson has said as the postponement of the examination has created an undue pressure on the students and their parents, the government should end the dilemma by authorising the respective schools to conduct internal assessment to promote the students.
Most schools have already conducted at least three internal tests for the Grade 10 students to prepare them for the board finals.
“Even the renowned universities and the examination boards across the world have started authenticating the results of internal evaluation,” Pabson said in its letter to the government.
In view of the current situation, the National Examination Board should issue grade sheets and certificates to Grade 10 students based on their internal evaluation scores, Pabson has proposed.
“We request the Nepal government to resolve the legal problems, if there are any, and provide certificates authenticating the marks the students have received in internal evaluations,”Pabson Chairman Tika Puri said.
The request from private schools came days after a government panel concluded that the exams for the grade 10, 11 and 12 students could be held next month.
A panel led by Chandra Mani Poudel, chairperson of National Examination Board, had suggested conducting the SEE from the third week of June.
Earlier on April 21, the National Campaign for Education, an umbrella body of 300 non-governmental organisations working in the education sector, had also suggested the government to scrap the SEE and the Grade 11 and 12 finals and promote the students through internal evaluation.
But the examination board had ruled out the possibility of promoting students based on internal evaluation, arguing that the certificates based on internal evaluation could raise the question of accreditation.
“There is a reason for holding the broad exams. We cannot change our test modality abruptly. It needs extensive study and planning,” Poudel, chairman of the National Examination Board, had told the Post.
Tulashi Thapaliya, director general at Centre for Education and Human Resource Development, said while multiple options should be opened at the time of uncertainty, it was too early for Pabson to suggest the government to promote Grade 10 students through internal evaluation.
“I am sure the government will come up with a proper solution if the uncertainty persists,” he told the Post.
The government has extended the lockdown till May 18 and there is no possibility that the academic institutions will open even if the lockdown is relaxed.
Only on Monday the Ministry of Education had asked the respective schools not to start admission as the threat of Covid-19 still persists. The new academic session, in normal condition, starts in mid-April.