Good idea but...

The Department of Education (DoE) has directed every public school of the country to promote all Grade I children from the just concluded last academic year. Since around 14 per cent of the children of school-going age are still out of school in Nepal, the DoE initiated the “welcome programmes” and “enrolment campaigns” since last year to lure children to join school at class I. It is believed that the new system would aid the government’s plan to increase the enrolment rate at grade I to 100 per cent by 2015 and would be effective in checking the dropout rate as well. It is a good practice to promote pupils without having them to sit for yearly examination, as there is little logic in making the young ones slog too hard.

Since the scheme is based on a ‘continuous assessment system’, the private institutions too should not hesitate to implement it, as it would benefit the pupils immensely. However, the school authorities should ensure that only those children who meet the minimum criteria are promoted, as blindly resorting to promotion would create problems for pupils at higher grades. If the sole aim of the policy is only to check the dropout rate, the authorities could

face similar problems from Grade 2, when the syllabus would become more difficult. Also, since the scheme is launched purely with donor support and through help from NGOs, the sustainability of the policy cannot be assured altogether. The initial pilot programme launched in five districts did not prove as effective as the DoE had expected. It is thus important that the authorities concerned keep in mind the long-term advantages and durability of such educational policies.