Only 33 percent of students passed grade eight exams in Dhangadhi this year4,533 students sat the exams from both public and private schools in the sub-metropolis, but only 1,533 passed.
The recently published results of the Basic Level Examination (BLE) for grade eight highlighted the poor quality of education in schools, mostly community schools, in Dhangadhi Sub Metropolitan City, the district headquarters of Kailali in Sudurpaschim province.
The BLE results for the academic session 2022-23 were published on April 15.
Out of the 4,533 students who appeared in the examination from both public and private schools in the sub-metropolis, only 1,533 students passed. Overall, only 33 percent of students have obtained the grades necessary for promotion to the ninth grade, according to the education unit of the sub-metropolis.
There are 106 community and private schools in Dhangadi. The pass percentage of 18 schools was zero while 13 schools had one student each obtaining the pass marks and 16 schools had only two to four students obtaining the pass marks.
“This year’s BLE result was shocking. This has revealed the actual state of education and the academic performance of schools in the sub-metropolis,” said Narendra Bahadur Khati, head of the education unit of Dhangadhi.
The collection of answer sheets, publication of results, monitoring of examination centres and security was handled by the sub-metropolis itself in the academic session 2022-23. “In the previous academic sessions, in at least 18 schools, around 60 percent of students would pass the BLE and, in around 15 schools the pass rate was 100 percent,” said Khati. “In the schools that would previously see 60 percent pass rate, not a single student passed the exams this time, and in schools that had recorded 100 percent pass rate only about six students have passed.”
The low pass percentage and the alarming rate of failure this year can be attributed to the tight monitoring of examination centres, says Khati.
“We suspect the higher pass rates were due to irregularities during exams. But this year we ensured there was a tight monitoring of these centres to prevent students from cheating,” said Khati. “We wanted to ensure that only deserving students who put in hard work throughout the year get a fair chance to get promoted to the ninth grade. But we had not expected the results would be this poor.”
The sub-metropolis for the first time organised and managed the BLE for the academic session 2022-23. The sub-metropolis had conducted the examination in coordination with the District Education Office in the academic session 2018-19. The exams were not held in 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic sessions due to the Covid pandemic and students were promoted based on internal assessment.
On April 19, the representatives of various teachers’ unions and school committees submitted a memorandum to Gopal Hamal, the mayor of the Dhangadi, demanding a re-evaluation of the answer sheets. They blame the overall education system of the country for the poor performance of the students.
“The results show the quality of education at schools in the metropolis is poor and this will jeopardise the future of students,” said Hamal. “Failing in itself is not a bad thing, but we must make improvements across all levels to improve the quality of education. Parents, teachers, and schools have to work together to improve the quality of education and save the future of the students.”
According to the schools, the lack of teachers, textbooks, physical infrastructure and study materials, and the two years of disturbance in education caused by the Covid pandemic, had an adverse impact on the education system resulting in the poor academic performance.
Among the 88 local units in the Sudurpaschim province, the Dhangadhi sub-metropolis has spent the most in the education sector, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology. The sub-metropolis received a conditional grant of Rs500 million from the federal government and it contributed Rs50 million from the sub-metropolis to spend on community school education.