The year of 2013 proved a headache to the educationalists of Nepal. The country saw an uninspiring 30% pass rate of the government students who appeared in the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam. While in the private sector, there was a pass rate of somewhere between 75-80%. The results were enough to give us a glimpse of the country’s poor education policy and the quality of education it was disseminating to the future leaders of Nepal.
The news spread like a wildfire and got a place in the front pages of the newspapers and became a talking point for the TV presenters to question everything they had about the situation of education in the country to the folks who implemented the promising policies. The policymakers were in no position to accept the blame they had been put into. They found it interesting to appear in the national arena as if the government school’s students were handed an Asar 15 presents. And even if these policymakers had to defend themselves, they were confident to blame on the political impasse for this worst scenario. Hopefully after the issue got a national status, the government pledged to increase the pass percentage to 60-70% in the next few years. And to reach the target the government encouraged the teachers to give a special focus to the Class 10 students. It requested them to do whatever they can to uplift the standard of education in their school. After all, the development has to be a collective effort.
|Subhay Manandhar, utilizing his winter break in 2013, teaches the students to solve simultaneous equations in a government school in Kathmandu|
Amidst all these flawless plans, something very much bugs me. If the government’s decision is implemented by every schools in the country, there is a high chance that the target cannot be met. The decision to increase the number of classes that the SLC students attend while the education in primary and secondary schools gets a second priority is very alarming and potentially a major blunder. The result that we may get is ephemeral and not revolutionary. It would be a failed attempt to getting closer to the aim of achieving 60-70% pass rate in the allocated time frame.
Instead, I would suggest to give more priority to incorporate quality education in the national curriculum of primary and secondary level classes, especially in the rural areas. That way, when these students reach their age to sit for the iron gate exam, the results will be concrete. If we are able to focus right from the beginning, then the primary level students can make a direct impact on the results of the secondary level and the secondary level students would improve best when they sit for the exams. That way, the government can feel contempt and hopeful that the amended education policy has finally paid off and the target was accomplished easily. It is definitely the best way.
|The happiness that we get when we disseminate knowledge is greater than the desire for getting salary|
The other flaw that led to the poor performance in SLC was the inadequate teaching materials in the schools. Most of the government schools lack proper infrastructure and some are even forced to study under roofless buildings and with no books and exercise books. The other factor is the depth of knowledge that the teachers possess to answer any questions their students ask them. We all know how significant ‘learning by doing’ can enhance our attempt to understand the subject matter in greater depth. However, the schools in the rural areas are not privileged to play with scientific apparatus. Even if they do have some of these toys, they lack adequate knowledge to operate them efficiently.
The big solution to these issues is to send capable and skilled manpower to the farthest nooks and corner of the country. These may include students who have passed SLC with great percentage or teachers who have established themselves as professionals in private schools. I am already sensing the issue of salary obstructing this solution. But hey, aren’t we the ones who bragged ourselves as the literate and who always complained that nothing is possible in Nepal? I find it amusing when a bachelor student goes out into the streets and demands employment. He could enjoy the joy at sharing the knowledge he possesses and increase the literacy rate of the urban areas.
Money should not bother their prejudice. I can also definitely claim that our very own teachers would refrain themselves from getting involved in such acts. I don’t blame them for this but they should consider it as a moral responsibility.
It is a great deal to increase the pass rate in our country. The education sector will have to pay a heavy price if the gap between private and government sector widens at an alarming rate. It will be very difficult to narrow the gap if the trend continues for another decade. It is therefore wise to upgrade the education quality in the rural areas. For this, the government, policymakers, educationalists, teachers and the urban students should extend their hands and transform the education sector for good. We would definitely need competitions for the next urban generations from the rural folks as well, wouldn’t we?