A meeting at the Ministry of Education (MoE) on Tuesday decided to ban guess papers and guide books meant for for grades X, XI and XII. Various publishing houses have been printing guess papers of various
subjects from Grade X to the university level.The decision comes on the heel of pressure from stakeholders to discourage the increasing use of guess papers that target the examinees with ‘just-pass-mentality’.
According to Education Secretary Suresh Man Shrestha, the decision was taken after the ministry’s evaluation found that readymade answer books are putting a brake on the creativity of students. “Education is to become an independent. However, guess papers are making students non-laborious and education has become exam-oriented,” said Shrestha.
Suresh Man Shrestha, secretary, Ministry of Education said the ministry had received complaints from guardians that their wards were not paying attention to studies and losing their creativity. Hence, the decision to ban the sale of guess papers in the market. Shrestha said, “Guess papers had created confusion among students and cases of cheating in the SLC exam and the higher secondary board exam had also increased.”
He stated that some publishing houses had published pocket-sized guess papers which helped students cheat in the exam. The ministry will direct the Curriculum Development Centre to implement the decision.
The decision, to be implemented within a month, will put a compete ban on the publication and selling of every kind of exam-focused guess papers and guides. The MoE will set up a strong monitoring body under the Curriculum Development Centre to control the publication of guide books and, if need be, seize them.
“Those who violate the rule will be booked under the prevailing law,” said Shrestha. The ministry’s decision has been welcomed by guardians, book publisher associations and education experts.
“We rally around the government decisions and are ready to help the government to implement its move,” said Noor Nidhi Panta, general secretary of Federation of Nepal Book and Stationary Business.
The MoE has also decided to take action against the officials who fail to make textbooks available in the respective schools by mid-April.
Similarly, it is also preparing to come up with directives for the private academic institutions to take prior permission from the MoE regarding the content and amount of money to be spent in their advertisements. After the Education Ordinance presented at President’s Office failed to get an approval, the MoE is preparing to amend the Education Regulation-2002 to open the door for recruitment of some 12,000 teachers from open competition.
“The country will be without fake students within six months,” said Mahashram Sharma, spokesperson at the MoE. “We have also directed all the District Education Offices to get the data of fake schools and students in one month.”
Suprabhat Bhandari, president, Guardians Association Nepal said banning guess papers would enhance creativity among students but the way the decision was taken was not right. He said the government should have discussed with stakeholders, students and guardians before taking such a decision.
MoE would seek the help of police in carrying out raids at the publications that sell such guidebooks. The Federation of Nepal Book and Stationery Business has also come forward to help the government implement the ban on guidebooks that have had an adverse impact on the overall quality of education.
The federation had been seeking a ban on guess papers since 2005 as those involved in the business have been raking in huge profits at the cost of student´s future. “Around a dozen publication houses have currently employed qualified lecturers and professors to prepare the content for guess papers. These guess papers contain question and answers often repeated in the examinations relieving students of the burden of going through the course books,” Panta claimed.
Meanwhile, educationists have welcomed the education ministry´s plan but doubt the government´s ability to effectively implement it.
“Those involved in the guess paper business are likely to reach out to students by devising new ways. I doubt if the government will succeed in implementing the plan,” said educationist Vidya Nath Koirala. He suggested changing the question patterns for examinations so that students do not rely on readymade question-answer volumes.
Similarly, the government must also prioritize modification in the teaching methods. “A teacher must necessarily know how to relate practical application of a subject matter in real life situations to students. A student cannot develop his creativity unless he begins to internalize the subject matter taught,” Koirala said.