English Musing

Troubled future

Grilled Radicchio Salad

Cheers for joyous SSC passed students and their guardians for their good results. A total of 13,03,331 out of 14,32,727 students passed in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and equivalent examinations under 10 education boards this year. By breaking all the previous records 142,276 of them got the highest Grade Point Average (GPA-5) in both the exams. The number of GPA-5 achievers was 91,226 last year. Among the GPA-5 holders, 77,551 are male students and 64,725 are female. This year the success rate has been 91.34 per cent – 2.31 per cent higher than that of last year. The number of schools with hundred per cent pass stood at 6,210.As many as 288 students of seven foreign centres have come out successful in the SSC examinations this year with 98.29 per cent pass rate Exam controller SM Wahiduzzaman of Dhaka Education Board told about the average success rate increased because students are doing well in all subjects. Candidates score good marks if they answer creative questions. ‘That’s why it has become easy to pass.’ The inter-education board coordination sub-committee identified around 8,000 institutions across the country and special classes were arranged for difficult subjects there. That’s why the students have done well in these subjects, says Professor Taslima Begum, chief of inter-education board coordination sub-committee. But the higher pass rate and number of GPA-5 achievers are sprawling, the more questions are mounting about quality of education and examination system. It is clearly evident that there is a lack of quality in accordance with quantity of the previous results. While candidates scoring top results deserve a pat on their back, especially the high achievers, educationists worry about the large number of candidates vying for placement in a limited number of good colleges. It is also a matter of great regret that most of the high achievers could not secure minimum pass number in university admissions. A report published in the Prothom Alo last year showed that most of the SSC and HSC graduates did not get minimum pass marks when they applied for the Dhaka University admission tests for bachelor degrees. The report stated 55 per cent students failed to achieve minimum pass marks in the university admission tests in 2013, 52 per cent in 2010 and 53 per cent in 2011. Academicians question the relevance of the high number of GPA5 holders when a huge percentage of these candidates fail to pass at the university admission tests. Even students no more feel as excited after achieving amazing results in their first public examination. Nayeema Siddique, a golden A+ achiever says, ‘Nowadays getting a good result is not enough until you get admission in a good college.’ The anxiety exists even among parents. A good many students take private tuition even after such high scores only to sit for university admission tests. Addul Halim Chowdhury, a parent of a GPA 5 student agrees with the concerns saying ‘students do well in the secondary and higher secondary school examinations, but that is of no use unless they can get into a good institution.’ The current methodology of questions offers scope to students to get higher number in difficult subjects easily. If examiners receive instruction from education boards to give number liberally, it is difficult for them to evaluate students’ quality. There is allegation against the education board authorities for granting more numbers to students to increase pass records whether they write appropriately or not. Though the government demands education advancement, it cannot ensure quality-based education advancement. Though the education system is career oriented it does not focus on whether the student has learnt something out of it or not. This system is such that students have to mug-up formulas and laws only with the intention of passing out with socially acclaimed grade. People rarely talk about the number of research papers that get published from a particular institute. Instead the focus is more on the starting salaries a student draws and the organisations that hire them after they pass out of the institute. Moreover, public perceptions about the results are also unpalatable; people raise questions about the credibility of the results. Factors such as the leak of tests question papers, solving problems in the exam halls with the help of invigilators or fellow examinees, examiners’ being more generous in giving marks and so on create opportunity for people to consider the results un-laudable. Although the gradual progress in results is natural, the improved results seem unusual when there is a public perception that primary and secondary educational institutions are not functioning well and as a result, guardians have to buy education for their children from coaching centres and individual. Above all, there are widespread rumours of question paper leak. The education administration should take the allegation into cognizance or they can just ignore by saying that there is no proof question papers were leaked out. If the education authority continues to ignore the matter, it will bring more disgrace to those who will pass the examinations as well as to those who will be in charge of holding the examinations. Why will the respected education authority wear the crown of discredit when they can easily avoid it? So it is time to adopt few changes to our current education system; otherwise our country will fill up with learned ignorant who have grades but not knowledge.

Ashfaque Ahmed Abir

May 30, 2014 12:01 am

Writer can be reached at ashfaque.abir@gmail.com

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