Let provincial government hold remaining SEE exams: Experts

2019-03-31

The Kathmandu Post


BINOD GHIMIRE, KATHMANDU, Amid a spat between the central and provincial governments regarding the question paper leak of Secondary Education Examination in Province 2, experts have suggested that the federal government take this as an opportunity to hand over the responsibility of conducting the 10th grade national exam to the provincial governments.

Following back-to-back incidents of question paper leak in Saptari, the Ministry of Education on Friday evening decided to cancel the rest of the examinations. The students have already taken examinations of English, Nepali and Mathematics, while the tests for Science will be held on April 5. 

The exam routine for the remaining four subjects has not been announced yet. After the consecutive incidents of question paper leak, the Province 2 government has come down heavily on the federal government, claiming it is a conspiracy to defame the provincial government and weaken federalism. 

A senior minister from the province said the federal government must take the responsibility for the fiasco and has even demanded resignation of the education minister. Talking to the Post, Nawal Kishor Sah, social development minister of Province 2, claimed that had the provincial government been authorised to hold the exam, they would have conducted it successfully. “Conducting the SEE examination on its own shows the federal government is continuing its supremacy at the provincial level going against the spirit of the constitution,” he told the Post. 

Education Minister Giriraj Mani Pokharel, however, said the federal government conducted the exam as the provincial governments were not prepared for it. At a press meet on Friday, Pokharel had asked not to politicise the issue. 
He, however, refrained from disclosing when the federal government would delegate authority to the provincial governments to conduct exams. Education experts say the federal government should allow Province 2 government to conduct the examination for the remaining four subjects. 

“This, on the one hand, would end the authority row while it would also be a test for the provincial government which is pointing finger at the centre,” Bidhya Nath Koirala, an education expert told the Post. “The federal government has already adopted a policy to allow the local governments to conduct examinations of eighth grade and the provincial governments to conduct 10th grade exams, so it should delegate authority accordingly,” he said.

Though the Constitution of Nepal authorises the local governments to govern the education sector up to 12th grade curriculum design, teacher management, conducting examinations and evaluating students, a policy authorises the local governments to do so only up to eighth grade. The authority to manage 10th grade examinations has been given to the provincial governments, while the National Examination Board under the federal government manages grade 12 exams.

The back-to-back Secondary Education Examination question paper leaks in Province 2, which have affected thousands of students from eight districts, have raised question over the security and management competency of the Central Examination Board.

As many as 70,568 students from 262 exam centres in eight districts of Province 2 have been affected by the decision to cancel the examinations.