The students who have been eagerly awaiting the SLC results for the past few months finally know whether they’ve made the cut. Furthermore, this time of year attracts the attention of the whole nation because the exam of the SLC has been regarded as the Iron Gate for secondary level students. Results are highly valued in our society because it is meant to be the outcome of 10 years of rigorous labour, opening up the path to higher education and career development. But what’s worth pondering is what precisely these students have been taught in these ten years and what values have been implanted into their minds. Our education system judges success solely on the basis of the completion of the academic level. The socio- psychological aspect of teaching and learning are mostly ignored in this context.
First, if we look at the SLC examination system, it compels us to brood over the future of the present generation. It has been more than a decade that the teaching and learning process has been badly affected by the examination system. The surprising thing is that guardians of pupils in public schools rarely tread the school grounds throughout the school year to inquire about their child’s progress and level of education. But when SLC season comes around, they are always seen hovering around the centres. One can speculate that they aren’t there to make sure the exam is running properly. What is more shameful is that in some places, the teachers themselves who have taught the students the whole year, given them extra tuition lessons, are also spotted trying to help the students cheat during the exams. In this way, students wrongly learn early on that the main objective of an education is to score high marks and pass classes.
A similar story resounds when looking at the examination system for the Higher Secondary Level. During the grades 11 and 12 examinations, now and again we hear of cases of the question paper leaking before the exam. In such situations, the students who have laboured hard feel as though they have wasted so much time and energy. In the long term, this kind of activity has a detrimental effect on students and their outlook on education. Whether it is secondary level or higher secondary level, the way the examinations are run must be reconsidered, although concerned authorities have made a continuous effort to improve the system.
Second, if we look at the courses of study in school or college level, there is always a lacking. Moral or value education is a vital aspect of schooling and yet it has been thoroughly neglected in Nepal. In the present context, students are fed only the accumulated content found in course books. In turn, they lack confidence in the tasks they undertake and are left confused regarding the future. In fact, education should motivate students to be more creative and productive in all realms of life. Most students are seen to be somewhat careless about their responsibilities towards society, their families and the whole nation. The ultimate aim of most of the students seems simply to pass exams and move upward. Consequently, they are compelled to think about the easiest way to get better and higher scores.
Due to a lack in feeling of social responsibility and moral duties as a citizen, the students’ social and spiritual health slowly deteriorate. This has larger implications on their personality—often being one-sided. The higher the academic level they reach, the more they get detached from humanly virtues like love, cooperation, responsibilities, self- confidence and so on. Since they are being taught in school to simply pass—without confidence and determination—addressing practical problems in life in the future also tend to become more difficult. Mahatma Gandhi might have correctly said that if the aim of life is not strengthened through education, it is meaningless to achieve education. Therefore, when students emerge from a lax education system where hard labour and continuous effort are not encouraged, they become less able to think uniquely and be creative. When they pass out of school and begin a career and jobs, creativity and productivity are undoubtedly going to be necessary. And when this time arises, certificates and mark-sheets will not help.
In this light, the failing education system is also breeding a tremendous amount of discontent among students too. Until and unless flaws in the system are properly managed, the situation will only get worse. The ultimate goal of education should be to produce such citizens who can develop the sense that they can do something, have determination to do it and have the patience for continuous effort. Only then will an education be truly fruitful for students and society as a whole.
(Source: The Kathmandu Post)