The much-awaited School Leaving Certificate Examination (SLC) results have been made public, but it has been received with mixed reactions since the pass percentage has been drastically low this year with only 38.72 per cent getting through the exam, in comparison to the 46.18 per cent last year. It has been said that the Valley schools, especially the so-called English medium ones, and some of the schools near Kathmandu have made up for the pass percentage. Out of the total 2,16,303 examinees who sat for the exam, 1856 received distinction, 31029 passed in first division, and 45888 and 4974 pupils secured second and third divisions respectively. The SLC topper, Samir Shrestha of Kavre Mahavidyala got 91.37 per cent, and among the girls, Shubha Acharya of Galaxy Public School obtained 91 per cent. While those who passed SLC with flying colours have much to celebrate, it is time for the authorities to engage in some serious introspection as to why the class 10 studies, which is supposed to be the gateway for the students’ academic career, have deteriorated over the years.
It is clear that there is a pressing need to improve the standard of SLC. Given the low quality of the education system in Nepal, aggravated no end by the unprecedented violence, it is not surprising that the pupils have not been able to perform up to the mark. The schools have become the breeding grounds for the rebels and the security forces to launch their offensives. The call for making the schools a “peace zone” has also become a farce. Given such interruptions in conducting regular classes, the terrorised village children can hardly be expected to do well in crucial tests like SLC. Thus, it will not be wrong to say that the improvement of education sector in Nepal is contingent upon the safety and security of the students and the school premises. At the same time, all sorts of malpractices like bribing for question papers and arbitrarily granting grace marks should be discouraged. Instead the government should provide for a monitoring body to oversee the functioning of the private institutions, and cater to the financial needs of the public schools. A strong SLC board can emerge after a reassessment of the quality of the teachers and the existing syllabus. If an appropriate education environment is provided for the students, we can certainly expect better results next year.