The results of SSC examination 2019 came out on 06 May with some exclusive characteristics as it happened in the previous years as well. This year 1.53 per cent more girl students passed than boys did. 52 thousand 692 more girls than boys sat for the examination. Another important thing happened with this year’s SSC examinees. The students who failed in the test examinations in their respective schools were not allowed to sit for public examination. This trend has been in vogue in many institutions just to earn fame of the institution artificially contributing to increasing pass rate keeping the number of failed students less. Many students become victim of this technique of the institutions. Many teachers or even the school authorities don’t want to take the responsibility to send those students to sit for public examination who seem not to do well in the examination.
That does not always prove to be a right or reasonable step. This year such a kind of tradition has been established at the national level that cannot be said to be a good sign. Five lakh and fifty thousand students belonged to this category. Though it helped to increase the pass percentage in the public examination, we cannot surely certify that all of them would fail in the public examination. One valuable year from their life has been lost.The students of humanities and business education showed seriously poor performance in mathematics. In Sylhet Board 25 per cent, in Barishal Board 19 per cent and in Dhaka Board 15 per cent students failed in Mathematics. 3 lakh 78 thousand and 650 students failed across the country and among them many failed due to mathematics. Out of this number about two lakh students failed from humanities group. In science group 94.72 per cent, in Business Education 83.03 per cent passed but in humanities passed 74.32 per cent and this is due to the failure in mathematics.
This failure in mathematics has affected the entire result. What actually happened in mathematics? Some problems of mathematics were set from the examples of the textbook that students usually don’t solve. They follow the problems and do exercises usually from note and guide books that definitely say that students’ basic knowledge in mathematics particularly those who belong to humanities group has not developed. That is another disease which needs serious treatment.
It is heard and told by some education board chairpersons and some teachers also that English question was easier this year that contributed to increasing the pass rate in English in all boards. The pass rate in this subject is more than 90 per cent in all the education boards! Rajshahi Education Board has topped the list in pass percentage this year and the situation of English in SSC examination seems unbelievable. The students of this board have seen 98.16 per cent pass. It necessarily means that this board has some magic through which they have made pass percentage in English so high. Or it may mean that the students of this board are exceptionally good in English and it has become so suddenly this year.
All these seem to be a cock and bull story and we just take pride and appreciate this result without going deep into the matter. When 98.16 per cent students pass in English it necessarily means that the students of this board don’t need to do much for further improve in English. They can understand listening English easily, can speak English to express themselves, can realise anything reading any topic and can write any topic of their own. Moreover, other education boards should follow their steps and ways to develop the situation of English of their students. The fact behind these calls for a serious debate and research.
I frequently visit different parts of the country, visit schools and classes and talk to the students. My recent visits show that the students of class nine and ten could not answer some questions in English such as ‘I read in class ten/ there are 97 students in our class/ I regularly come to school/ I did not come to school yesterday. These questions were asked to them in Bengali to make English. Yet all these students have obtained good grades in English. How strange! What are we doing? What fun are we making with the students and assessing their English skills? In madrasa education board 97.35 per cent and technical education board 96.93 per cent students have passed in English. How fun it is!
It is heard that the education boards have brought about some changes to evaluate the scripts. They have emphasised training of teachers to examine the scripts that also calls for appreciation. This year one model answer was given to the examiners so that the making does not see a big gap that used to happen in previous years. The BEDU (Bangladesh Examination Development Unit) is working to improve this situation that really invites our appreciation.However, a huge number of teachers still face the testing illiteracy situation. How will this matter be minimised and addressed? How to make all the teachers testing literate, do we have any such plan? The ministry of education must a have clear guideline and plan to bring all the teachers under this programme so that they can be testing literate within a short possible time to evaluate the scripts of the students both in their internal and external and public examination. We must search for the reason why not a single student has passed from 107 schools and 59 madrasas? What happened to them? What about the overall situation of teachers of these institutions? Should we be satisfied with 82.20 pass percentage? Finally, should we be satisfied only with the increasing pass percentage or we should look for what they are achieving actually?
The writer is an Education Specialist, BRAC Education Program.
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