The School Leaving Certificate Examinations (SLCE) is scheduled to begin from April 23, ending the 83 years old history of the School Leaving Certificate (SLC), which started from 1934.
Around 400,000 12th graders will be sitting for the SLCE exams this year, according to officials.
The eighth amendment to the Education Act has defined Grade 1-12 as school education. In the past, the SLC exam at the end of Grade 10 was taken as the exit point for school education.
With the introduction of the new system, more than 800,000 students who are currently in Grades 11 and 12 will end up sitting for end-of-school examinations twice in their lifetime.
According to the National Examination Board, about 400,000 students will sit for the SLCE beginning next Sunday. "The exams of all streams of Grade 12 will conclude on May 5," said Dr Hari Prasad Lamsal, spokesman at the Ministry of Education. "We have completed all the preparations for the exams," he added.
The academic streams in Grade 12 include science, management, humanities, education and vocational programs, according to NEB officials. "The exams of vocational programs will be separately conducted by the Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT)," said Lamsal.
The SLCE will be conducted in 990 exam centers, said Santosh Aryal, controller at the Office of the Controller of Examinations (OCE). There are nearly 3,800 schools running Grades 11 and 12 in the country.
The Secondary Education Examination (SEE) for Grade 10, which used to be taken as the SLC exams in the past, was held across the country last month. The exams were conducted at 1,923 exam centers from 8 am to 11 am from March 16-24.
The NEB reported that a total of 538,182 students including those from technical groups were eligible to sit for the SEE.
Students who cheat in the exams or those who help students cheat will face action including a fine of up to Rs 100,000 or six months imprisonment or both, according to the OCE.
According to the Act, Grade 8 exams are conducted at the district-level, Grade 10 exams at the region/province level and Grade 12 exams will be conducted by a national board.
This is the second time the letter grading evaluation system is practiced in Grade 10. According to the MoE, the letter grading system will be gradually enforced in school level exams from Grade 0 to 12. The system is being implemented in Grades 9 and 11 from this year. "Letter grading system will be applied in Grade 12 from next year," said the MoE officials.
The exams of different streams for Grade 11 will be conducted from June 15 throughout the country, according to the NEB.
This article was originally published in Republica National daily on 17th April, 2017