TOPICS : Decentralise SLC examinations

Dhruba Prasad Dhungel

The leap in the percentage of the SLC passers this year is definitely impressive and has been hailed throughout the country, especially by the people in the education sector. Since SLC exam is regarded as the iron gate in educational advancement of individuals, it certainly draws attention of the educationists of this country. Many have expressed their happiness and some their reservations about this significant increment in the success rate. But that success has come without any significant improvement in the whole education system. This year’s results have been a matter of great concern to the educationists. In this regard, the comment made by the controller of the examinations last year seems relevant. He had said that some educationists are used to complaining about the results whatsoever the rate of success. It is true that we are not happy when it is low. Moreover, we are not happy when it is high if it comes without any significant improvement. Then what really is the problem?

Educational achievement measurement is an area that western countries have applied in formal education. The term “reliability of the testing” is very common and is used to address problems and the conduct of tests could be significantly improved. However, no such research has been conducted in the country and recommendations made on improving the standards have largely been ignored by the authorities concerned. The educational consultants in Nepal are probably too busy preparing reports for the donor agencies according to their needs but not for the needs of education of the general people. The norm reference test which has a certain cut-off score to be passed has to be fixed after thorough studies of arbitrary factors concerning the tests. The purpose of the test also should be clear — in this case it can be assumed that if a candidate passes the test, he can carry out higher education comfortably. How many of the SLC passers complete their higher education on time? No other convincing purpose can be seen. Hence, time has come to think whether there is a need for such an examination or not?

The other problems while administering the examinations are due to the centralisation of examination system. Though centralisation is necessary, it is not the domain that should be treated as competing things. Like the right to live, it is the people’s right. Nobody goes in for competition for physical survival in this world, the same is true of education too. In centralisation of examinations, certain errors are bound to be there which seriously curtail the reliability of the tests. Thus, avoiding centralisation may be one of the solutions to avoid the state of being over-joyous or depressed after the results are announced. The other problem is irregularities by the authorities concerned who resort to unethical means. It exists everywhere in the world, however, the degree varies from a society to the other. To keep such practices to a minimum possible level, decentralisation of examinations can play a significant role. If a teacher is made accountable for students’ achievement, it could improve the situation. No other people know about the students’ ability better than their teachers. Proper monitoring mechanism should be in place for absolute decentralisation of the SLC examinations.