KATHMANDU, April 2
With the expulsion of over 1,500 examinees for cheating during the just-concluded SLC board exams still a fresh memory, a government report shows that overall student performance has declined at the grade eight level as well.
Eighth graders received 35 marks on average in Mathematics, 41 in Science and 48 in Nepali, states a report of the Education Review Office (ERO), the government body responsible for keeping tabs on the learning curve of school-goers. This finding shows a decline compared to the previous report of 2012, when students had received 43 in Maths and 49 in Nepali.
Though the performance in Nepali has dipped by just one mark, the equation is worse in Maths, with a decline of eight marks.
“The lack of subject teachers is reflected in the report, which indicates an urgency for encouraging more professionals to take up the teaching service,” said Lekh Nath Poudel, the joint secretary at ERO.
The study, which is conducted with two-year gaps, was done in March last year through random sampling among 44,067 students of 1,199 school across 28 districts. Those students will be appearing in the SLC next year.
The findings for the lower secondary level indicate that the problem lies at that level rather than in the SLC itself, according to educationists.
“The report clarifies that students are being promoted to the next grade without learning most of the curriculum contents,” said educationist Bishnu Karki. Performance was initially tallied only through the SLC, but the trend now of studying performance at lower grades would be helpful in addressing the root cause, he added.
“The government has finally gotten to the root cause of the increasing failure rate in the SLC, and this is significant,” Karki added.
Compared to boys, who received 38 marks in Maths and 43 in Science, girls have done less well in these subjects, receiving 33 and 39 respectively.
Girls’ low performance in technical subjects is a global problem but they are doing far better in literary subjects, he added.
Students in the districts of the Valley have been depicted as the best performers whereas Siraha, Sunsari, Dolpa, Tehrathum, Mugu, Dhanusha and Bajura are the poorest. Likewise, students in the hill districts have shown better results than those in the tarai and mountain regions.
Another report of the government shows that schools in Nepal need 52,500 more teachers in addition to the 121,000 now deployed under government service. The private education sector accounts for 170,000 teaching professionals.
A UNESCO report published March last year reported a similar scenario worldwide and pointed out the lack of competent teachers in Nepal’s context as well.
The global report suggested the government come up with a visionary plan for attracting qualified professionals to teaching. –