Covid-19 puts SEE results on hold, leaves students anxiousGovernment says publishing results would increase mobility and risk of infection.
Calling her school to inquire about her Secondary Education Examination (SEE) results has become a part of her daily routine for Pragyee Neupane.
“The results will be out today or tomorrow is all that I have been hearing from the school for two weeks now,” she told the Post.
A student of SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, Bhaktapur, Neupane could not take the examinations in March as the government announced a nationwide lockdown. As the lockdown continued, the Cabinet on June 10 decided to cancel the examinations for this year and issue certificates based on internal evaluation conducted by the respective schools.
Schools sent the grades at the end of June but it is up to the Office of the Controller of Examinations under the National Examination Board to announce the final results. It has verified the results schools sent and has prepared the certificates.
The results of the 482,219 students who had registered for SEE examinations were ready to be announced by Sunday earlier this week. But then came a spike in Covid-19 cases mainly in Kathmandu Valley and some districts in the Tarai, prompting it to hold the plan.
“We have completed our work and are waiting for the present threat to subside to take a formal decision on authentication of the results,” Chandra Mani Poudel, chairperson of the National Examination Board, told the Post.
The SEE Board, of which the education secretary is vice chair, has to decide on the publication of the results.
Officials at the examination controller’s office say they had decided to postpone the publication of results by a week fearing that it would increase student’s mobility amid the threat of the pandemic.
“There is no sign that the threat will decrease anytime soon. But we expect the SEE board to decide on the matter soon,” Ram Raj Khakurel, examination controller, told the Post.
If the results are announced, students and their parents would start looking for schools and school operators will start reaching out to the students, increasing the risk of transmission of the coronavirus, Khakurel said.
But for Neupane that is little consolation.
“It is only natural for me to expect results on time,” said the 16-year-old. “Results could prompt colleges to open admissions and we could get to study.”
The government on Tuesday pushed back school admissions to September 1 from the earlier date of August 17 with the rise in coronavirus cases.
While students and their parents agree that the Covid-19 threat has increased they fear that one academic year may be lost with the continued delay in the publication of results. Last year, SEE results were announced on June 27 and all the schools had started classes by the end of July.
Kanchan Neupane, Pragyee’s mother, said there should not be a delay in the result as everything—from entrance to the running the class—can be done online without adding to the threat of virus transmission.
“Ensuring that our children don’t lose a year is important. The government should publish the results and create an environment for online learning,” she told the Post.
A further reason Pragyee is anxious is because a friend of hers has started her A Levels classes online. “But we are trapped due to the indecision of the Board,” she said.
Respective schools know about the result of their students but they haven’t disclosed them as they wait for the authentication from the Board.
Unlike schools that run A Level classes, those that run grades 11 and 12 do not call for admissions unless the results are out.
But according to Ram Sharan Sapkota, joint-secretary at the Ministry of Education, the ministry does not have information on admissions for A Levels. “This is absolutely wrong,” he said.
Schools offering grade 11 classes too are ready to enrol students online and provide virtual classes.
Lok Bhandari, general secretary of the Higher Institutions Secondary Schools’ Association Nepal, said if colleges can manage the enrollment of A-Level students without their physical presence, they could do the same for grade 11 students.
“There shouldn’t be a delay in results and allowing classes online. The government can always monitor to ensure the academic institutions haven’t flouted the safety rules,” Bhandari, who is the chief executive officer of Xavier International College, told the Post.
His college, which runs both grades 11 and 12 and A Levels, has already completed students’ screening for A-Level and plans to run the classes within a week.
But the government is of the view that since hundreds of thousands of students get enrolled in grade 11 after the SEE results, it would be hard to manage online entrance and admission for them.
“The SEE results will be out only after analysing the threat of the pandemic,” said the ministry’s Sapkota. ‘Health is of utmost importance and it would be wrong to hurry for student enrollment at this point of time.”
Schools are not allowed to admit students unless the government permits, he said.