Ministry report slams falling level of school education

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 20, 2018-

Despite running multi-billion rupees programme aimed at improving the quality of eduction in schools, the performance of children is rather deteriorating, according to a government report, raising questions over the effectiveness of such initiatives.

The finndings, made public by the Education Review Office (ERO) under the Ministry of Education, show the performance levels of eight graders in Mathematics and Science has dropped considerably in 2017 compared to 2013, though there has been some progress in Nepali. 

The study, carried out among 46,266 grade eight students in 1,950 public and private schools in 26 districts, shows the performance of students in Mathematics has slipped to 492 in 2017 from 508 in 2013. The study was done using a multi-stage sampling technique and Item Response Theory where 500 has been taken as the mean value of performance. The 500 reflects the average performance in the scale that ranges from 0 to 1,000. 

The average performance of the students in Science dropped from 502 in 2013 to 599 during the same period, according to the report. However, the learning achievement in Nepal has increased from 485 to 505 in four years. The ERO has been assessing the performance of the students of grades 3, 5 and 8 since 2011. The findings in the past had also painted a similar bleak picture. The study was carried out for only three subjects.

The results of the Secondary School Examination (previous called SLC) show the highest failure rate in Mathematics, Science and English among students.

The government, with some support from donor agencies, had started Rs1-trillion School Sector Development Programme two years ago with the objective to improve the quality of education in the schools. Some 7.2 million students study in over 36,000 public and private schools across the country. 

“The findings are disappointing. This has shown your real picture, giving us a way to move ahead,” said Secretary at the Ministry of Education Khag Raj Baral while unveiling the report on Thursday. 

“As school education has gone to the local levels, we will work together to bring about positive results.”

The report also shows that more than 16 percent of the schools are still using corporal punishment and teachers in 18 percent of the schools use inappropriate language in the classrooms. The teachers from 57 percent of the schools either come late or leave early or both, while those in 39 percent of the schools were found not spending full time in the classrooms. 

“This isn’t what we are looking for. Teachers are key to increasing quality in teaching,” said Lekh Nath Poudel, director at the ERO which lead the research. 

According to the findings, the success rate of children whose mother had attained at least a bachelor’s degree is higher than others. Students from the Brahmin and Chettri communities have the highest success rates while those from the Dalit community have the lowest. Karnali Province (Province 6) has the worst results in Mathematics and Science, while Province 2 is the weakest in Nepali. Province 1 has the best performance level, followed by Provinces 4 and 5.

Published: 20-04-2018 06:34

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