Sunday, 21 July, 2024

Schools resemble close camps ahead of SEE


By Manjima Dhakal

Kathmandu, Feb. 23: Pranesh Gautam, tenth grader student of a private school of Kathmandu, has been compelled to pretend a marriage ceremony of his elder brother for three-day leave from his hostel life a week ago.
Gautam had made that excuse for his refreshment while the school forced only to read and write without allowing them any extra activities. “Schedule is setting from morning 6:00 am to evening 9:00 pm, that includes regular classes and coaching classes targeting the upcoming Secondary Education Examination (SEE). I was compelled to make up that fake issue because my school does not allow me to take leave in normal situation.”
As Gautam, Ragina Shrestha of a different school took leave for five days showing her fake illness. Ragina said, “I request my parents to manage the leave in such a way after I became tired of monotonous hostel life. Thank god, parents understood me and I was able to happily stay at home for five days.”
A guardian whose child also in a similar coaching session at a school targeting SEE said, “Though the school has a rule not to send students home during the last months to SEE, I have been bringing my child every Saturday for three-four hours by requesting school’s principal because my child requested me to bring him home every week. He has been watching television and playing mobile in those few hours and returned to school after being quite refreshed.”
Now, almost all schools across the country have been adding burden to students in the name of extra classes or coaching classes or preparation classes or hostel for SEE appearing students. Many private schools are keeping grade ten students compulsorily at hostel and even public schools are operating extra classes for students without giving them a chance to involve in other activities.
Though these all are being done for the betterment of students’ performance, those excuses made by children seem that exam preparation extra classes are only for schools and guardians, not for children.
The government has replaced percentage system in SEE with grading system with a motive to decrease over competition in the examination, schools and guardians still seem exam-centric.
Educationists and phycologists said coaching culture is killing the creativity, vision and open mindedness of children.
Psychologist Gopal Dhakal said students could not remember the things they learnt for long due to stress while all their activities are being cut and focused only on study. Dhakal further said that guardians and schools pushed their children in such jail-like environment due to the illusion that only marks obtained in examination could play a vital role for further achievement of children.
Such pressure on children may give rise to exam phobia, study phobia and they may be unable to perform the things that they know about, Dhakal said.
Another educationist Dr. Basu Dev Kafle said teachers are delivering readymade matter, techniques and methods only targeting typical examinations in the name of preparation. Therefore, students could only perceive the content but they could not learn for their life; it means such trend is promoting only fixed mechanism rather than to make them open, he said.
Kafle suggested to reform the pedagogy and encourage asking question which makes children creative.
Business motive
No doubt schools are pushing students to extra classes to get good marks. Besides that, the hidden interest of schools is pure profit. Some talented students in every school may not require coaching and may do self-study are also compelled to attend extra classes due to the mandatory provision.
Different schools have been charging different amount of fees from guardians in the name of coaching class.
Psychologist Dhakal said school owners have been spreading fear among guardians that students could get lower marks if their children attend extra classes.
Rituraj Sapkota, chairperson of National Private and Boarding School Association Nepal (NPABSON), said the trend would not stop until students will get easy enrollment in grade eleven.
Sapkota said many guardians wanted to keep their children long in school with an assumption that they may not need to worry about their offspring’s education if schools managed this.