NEB’s decision for blanket postponement of grade 12 exams draws flak

Students and activists argue that the decision was not the best way to deal with a student's future

Image for representation.

Prasun Sangroula

  • Read Time 2 min.

Kathmandu: After enormous pressure from various quarters, the National Examinations Board on Saturday indefinitely postponed the exams of grade 12, previously slated to start from August 15. Earlier, on Friday, the Ministry of Health and Population had requested the concerned agencies to postpone examinations owing to the increased risk of the pandemic.

Students and activists had taken it to social media to call for the cancellation of the examinations. (#CancelNebExams was the hashtag of choice, which at one time was at the top of the trending list on Nepali Twitter.)

The NEB said a new notice would be published 15 days before the new schedule of examinations.

The decision to postpone the exam itself is receiving mixed reviews. Some say that it was the right decision while others argue the decision was not the best way to deal with a student’s future.

Both the arguments are not without merit. The indefinite postponement can push a student’s career into further uncertainty. Many students worry that they may miss the enrollment intakes for abroad studies.

Students call for alternative forms of exams rather than postponement.

“We don’t want postponement, rather we can use other alternatives,” Dixa, a twelfth grader student, writes on Twitter. “We have already wasted a lot of time by waiting for an exam but now we don’t want to waste time.”

There are many others who echo Dixa.

Jason Rae tweets, “Now there will be more pressure for students. Instead of an internal evaluation, NEB postponed it again… Either they should have carried out an internal evaluation or could have conducted the exam earlier.”

Bhanu Dabadi, Co-founder at MentorLab,  writes, “I feel pity for the Authorities who decided to cancel NEB exams but yet with a string attached “15 days notice.” Internal grade or Online?

Incompetency of the authorities to resolve the issue is causing inconvenience, a sword of uncertainty is still hanging!”

Like thousands of students, educationists also say that the NEB could have opted for alternative forms of assessment.

“To postpone exams without alternatives is a thoughtless and wrong act,” said educationist Bidhyanath Koirala, former head of the department of Education at Tribhuvan University. “There must be alternatives when an in-person examination cannot be conducted. The concerned body might have thought about doing it through online, television, radio, and other easily accessible mediums.”

If it is done rightly and fairly, the alternative forms will be effective. Few universities have already done that with good results.

Like thousands of students, educationists also say that the NEB could have opted for alternative forms of assessment.

“Illogical decisions like this pose questions in a student’s future. They can miss several opportunities due to such delays,” Koirala added. “Similarly, a strong mechanism to monitor all the possible wrongdoings should be formed.”

Another educationist, Bal Chandra Luitel, a professor of Education at Kathmandu University is also disappointed with the NEB’s blanket postponement decision.

“To some extent it might be right to postpone the exam but doing it without alternatives shows the incompetency and irresponsibility of the concerned authority,” said Luitel. “The act by NEB has dealt a severe blow to the education system of Nepal.”