Promotion of ‘failed’ students in KP govt schools now a routine

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The government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have promoted hundreds of thousands of students to the next grades though they could not get the required 33 per cent marks in the internal annual examinations.

According to the Education Code 1935, the required marks for promotion to the next grade are 33 per cent. However, the administrations of most of the schools have also promoted the students obtaining even 10 to 20 marks out of 100 in the annual internal examinations from nursery to grade-8, official sources said. The results of internal examinations of all government schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were declared on Monday (March 31).

The sources said that the administrations of 28,500 government schools in the province had been promoting even those students to the next grades who could not even read and write from the textbooks they were taught for one year prior to their examinations.

Asked about reasons for such promotions, the sources in the Elementary and Secondary Education (E&SE) Department said that by promoting maximum number of students the respective schools’ headmasters and teachers wanted to show their good performance. Another reason for this is to help the education department fulfil the conditions of the international donor agencies, which have been pressing the education department to retain students and reduce the dropout rate, they said.

Overall enrolment in the government schools is 3.93 million with 2.84 million (72 per cent) in primary and 1.09 million (28 per cent) in middle and secondary schools, according to data of the education department.

Hardly around 10 per cent of the students would get promotion to the next grades if the rule of 33 per cent passing marks is strictly followed for their promotion, several headmasters of the government schools said in background interviews with this reporter.

“We are not producing educated youths through the government schools,” admitted one of the headmasters in Peshawar. He said that in fact the headmasters and teachers were only running the schools instead of imparting education to students.

The high schools’ headmasters hold the administration of primary schools responsible for students’ poor show in studies. They said that most of the students being promoted to middle and high schools from primary schools couldn’t not read a sentence in English and Urdu on getting admission to grade-6.

A high school headmaster, who recently conducted examinations of two primary schools of grade-five in Peshawar, told Dawn that he had set 10 per cent marks as the promotion criteria and despite that 20 of the 50 students failed the exams in one school and 15 of 30 students in another school.

Several educationists working on important positions, in their interaction with this correspondent, termed the trend of promoting students, who were very poor in studies, disastrous for the students and nation.

Resultantly, they said, most of such students couldn’t qualify the Secondary School Certificate examinations conducted by the board.

The educationists said that students promoted without getting the minimum passing marks faced great difficulties in competing with the students of private schools in test and interviews for jobs. They said that if promotion of such students was stopped they would revise their courses and might start learning.

The provincial government has allocated only Rs87 billion for the government schools in budget 2013-14. Of this, Rs56 billion were allocated for salaries, Rs4 billion for non-salary expenditure and Rs14 billion for development.

Additional secretary Qaiser Alam Khan told Dawn that one of the reasons for the dropout of students in government schools was the high rate of failure in the examinations.

Apparently justifying the promotion of students in internal school exams, the additional secretary said that there was no concept of the students’ failure in developed countries as it discouraged the students.

Source: DAWN News.