Iron Gate: Is it the be all and end all?

2014-04-05

Himalayan News Service

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Kamal Gyawali passed his School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams in third division from Ruru Secondary School in Ridi, Gulmi in 1984. He was denied admission by Tribhuwan Bahumukhi Campus (TBC) in the Commerce stream due to poor marks. Gyawali had to seek help from the Free Students’ Union for admission.

“It was really a difficult time I felt really bad when I was not being allowed to study the subject of my choice,” he recalls.

He went on to complete Intermediate in Commerce (I Com) and Bachelors in Commerce (B Com) with first division from TBC. He also completed Chartered Accountant (CA) course from the Institute of Chartered Accountant, India and returned to Kathmandu and started work in the banking sector.

Gyawali, who is today the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kist Bank shares, “After many years of experience in the banking sector, I have become CEO of Kist Bank. I am proud for being able to generate huge employment opportunities for the country.”

Gyawali is just one of the many who didn’t fare so well in SLC but went on to become successful professionals. So, is it fair to evaluate a student’s capability based just on their SLC marks?

With hard work, students may score distinction in SLC exams, but will they really be able to get good opportunities just by scoring good marks in SLC?

“Securing the highest marks in SLC doesn’t mean that your future is bright. You have to be more hard working in higher education,” opined Gyawali who speaks out of experience.

There are many who share Gyawali’s point of view. Saroj Upreti of Ratna Rajya Higher Secondary School, who scored 77.25 per cent in this year’s SLC exams said, “Give more priority to higher level studies than SLC as they are more important than SLC results.”

Upendra Bohora of Jay Dev Higher Secondary School, Dailekh who secured 54.53 per cent in this year’s SLC exams also emphasises on higher education saying, “I’ve heard some SLC board toppers have failed in + 2 examinations. So, if you don’t try hard, you will not be successful in higher level studies.”

But then for SLC-appeared students, passing this Iron Gate is the biggest achievement of their life and getting good marks means more leverage for dreaming big.

Akriti Pandey from Om Secondary School, Bhaktapur, who scored 94.25 per cent this year, believes that SLC results have special importance. “Maintaining the performance level of SLC, we should work hard even in our higher studies for better results,” she said adding, “But good marks mostly depend upon the labour of the student. If you labour hard, there is no need to worry about results.”

For another high scorer Shushma Shrestha of New Jharana Secondary School, Rautahat who secured 80.5 per cent, the charm of SLC is still alive. “I think the future of any student depends hugely upon their SLC results. Securing high marks in SLC helps brighten their future.”

But Shrestha’s elder brother Priyadan Karmacharya argues, “SLC shouldn’t be taken as a benchmark for a student’s future. SLC results can’t determine your future .”

Citing the cases of SLC board toppers, who have been unsuccessful in their higher studies, Amar Tumyang lecturer of Patan Campus said, “We’ve seen many SLC toppers fail in their +2 exams. We really can’t say that someone who has secured lower grades in SLC won’t be able to do well in the future.”

The other side

All the hype and anticipation clubbed with SLC has brought its own share of negative impacts. While schools are competing to have more pass percentage, parents and students put so much into this one exam that they forget there are many more educational steps that a student needs to climb.

Pointing at this aspect Suprabhat Bhandari, President of Guardian’s Association stated, “It is becoming unhealthy. We are giving unnecessary importance to SLC. Students need to attend other exams also. I want to request parents and students not to focus only on SLC .”

Bhandari further urged the government and stakeholders for reformation of evaluation system of SLC. Agreeing with Bhandari, Gwayali said, “Giving priority to an examination is really good, but ignoring higher level education and just giving much importance to SLC exams shows less maturity.”

(Source: Published on The Himalayantimes on 3rd July)