The School Leaving Certificate (SLC) results, that came out last Friday, have one again demonstrated a huge discord between the public and private schools.
Only around one-thirds of students studying at public schools were able to receive the passing grades whereas the overall pass rate stood at more than 47 percent.
Among a total of 405,338 students who had taken the annual academic ritual under the regular category, 192,267 crossed the ‘Iron Gate’.
Even though there was a five percent rise in the number of students from public schools clearing the SLC exams, the overall scenario is still gloomy.
This becomes pretty clear if one is to compare the academic performance between the students from private and public schools appearing this year’s SLC exam.
Out of 302,399 students attending the exam from public schools, only 100,304 cleared the exam, while 91,925 out of 102,979 SLC-appeared students from private schools did so.
The figure speaks volumes on how poor people of Nepal are being deprived of quality education.
Of course, per student investment in private school is much higher than government schools. Average investment for the student in going to private school is estimated at more than 400 dollars. This factor is also crucial behind the undesirable dissonance between the academic SLC results of privileged and underprivileged students.
It is not that related state authorities have done literally nothing to improve the status of formal education in the country.
In fact, the government has been increasing education budget at around 15 percent per annum.
A lion’s share of the budget i.e Rs 86 billion was allocated for the sector in the fiscal year 2014-15.
However, out of the total budget, most of the money goes for salary, pension and other such things. Therefore, there is very nominal amount for infrastructure development and training, the pre-requisite for better education.
The government, no doubt, has increased its investment in public schools by one third in the last two years.
Only pouring more money into such schools will, in no way, produce desired outcome.
A comprehensible policy is simply the need of the hour.
Such policy can help address major anomalies like low capacity of teachers, politicisation and poor logistic arrangement, which are marring the delivery of government schools.
In more than 6,800 public schools in the country, hundreds of thousands of students mostly coming from the lower strata of society are enrolled.
Improving the overall efficacy of such schools amounts to ensuring them a good platform for building bright future. And this is simply mandatory to help mitigate ugly disparities in the country’s education sector.