Apart from problems with quality and standards, dozens of higher secondary schools have been running without renewal of their temporary affiliation. However, the authorities are clueless how to bring them to book and maintain the quality and standards.
There are 3,669 higher secondary schools across the country, according to the Higher Secondary Education Board (HSEB). Among these, at least 264 have not renewed their temporary affiliation, something which they should be doing every three years.
There has been no student enrollment in 31of the higher secondary schools while less than 10 students were registered in grade XI in 116 schools. Similarly, less than 10 students were enrolled in grade XII in 103 schools.
The results of grade XI in 95 schools were zero percent pass in 2072 BS while the results for grades XI and XII were below 10 percent in 118 and 231 schools respectively the same year. Overall pass ratio for grade XI was only 34.65 percent and the pass ratio for grade XII was 32.49 percent in the Humanities, Management and Education, and 44.30 percent in Science.
HSEB officials themselves admit that results at the higher secondary level are not satisfactory. "Quality and performance are very poor. These are deteriorating instead of improving. There is chaos in the whole higher secondary school system," said Bijendra Kumar Rai, spokesperson for HSEB. "As per the rules, the affiliation of higher secondary schools with below 10 percent pass results and intake of fewer than 10 students shall be scrapped. But nothing significant has been done yet in this respect.
"We are trying to bring them into the system. We scrapped the temporary affiliation of 43 schools recently," said Narayan Koirala, member secretary of HSEB. "We don't have any authority to monitor the schools," he also claimed, adding, "As per the HSEB Education Act, it is the Department of Education that is responsible for monitoring the schools."
Khaga Raj Baral, director general of the Department of Education, said that the department was responsible for regular monitoring of just the teaching and learning process, as with secondary and lower level schools. "HSEB is accountable for other monitoring at higher secondary schools," he said, passing the buck back to HSEB.
HSEB came into existence 27 years ago, but permanent affiliation has not yet been granted to any higher secondary school.
HSEB has for some years not monitored any higher secondary school. Some schools have operated secondary and higher secondary level programs at different places in contravention of the rules while many others have not even met the criteria for appointing teachers.
Umesh Shrestha, president of Higher Secondary Schools Association Nepal, said that the monitoring system of HSEB is very poor and ineffective. "At the same time, the proposed amendment of the Education Act speaks of new boards for all schools. The higher secondary schools might not have renewed their affiliation because of this," he added.
About four years ago, the government prepared an amendment to the Education Act, bringing in the concept of a National Examination Board merging the higher secondary and School Leaving Certificate levels and setting up a school level board for grade XII. But it has been to no avail.
Source; An article by Bishnu Prasad Aryal, originally published in Republica National Daily