The recent decision of eliminating the class ten cut off point has left the nation in uncertain chaos of whether this is a rational decision or just another gateway towards a downfall in the years to come.
The highs of this decision are that all the students in the country will be guaranteed a high school certificate. But, the ultimate question of simply raising the hopes of these students for jobs that are scarce or not there continues to linger. Having higher education with low grades, when they eventually have to face the job market where the selection process is merit-wise seems a bit absurd. As a result, we think the rate of unemployment will be high because the higher one’s level of education, the lower the likelihood of one taking up blue-collar jobs which is the current scenario with the college graduates.
Furthermore, with a 35% pass mark, it would imply that we are now encouraging below-average performances in the students and discouraging them to work hard. By promoting the underperforming students, issues such as qualified teacher shortages, high student-teacher ratio, and unavailability of adequate facilities such as laboratory resources, library facilities, etc., might eventually degrade the quality of education.
The issue of an already stretched budget (that now costs the country more than Nu. 140 million) must also be addressed. Suppose we can afford for one term or even for five years, but did we take into account the sustainability of such a program considering the financial status of our country?
Hence, it all comes down to this, what is a better choice; to have more class XII students or more able class XII students? There are other alternate solutions. Why not increase the number of terms a student can repeat in class 10 and make the students work their way up to Higher Secondary? Why not encourage TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) programs? This not only ensures that everyone is entitled to class XII, but it also does so without compromising the quality of education.
Lastly, for the policy change to function the government needs to allocate a huge sum of money to the education sector. Does the government have a projected plan or is this just a move to fulfill their pledges we wonder.