HSC results and our politicsby Masum Billah
THE results of the Higher Secondary Certificate examinations help students curve their path for higher studies. This year 74.3 per cent students passed the HSC examinations, a decrease from 78.67 per cent last year. The number of students with the highest grade point average has also come down from 61,162 in 2012 to 58,197 this year. This year’s records show that 744,891 students —393,899 boys and 350,992 girls — out of 1,002,496 have passed under ten education boards. Among the general education boards, Sylhet positioned first with 79.13 per cent success, followed by Rajshahi with 77.69 and Dhaka with 74.04. The pass rate is 79.14 per cent the Dinajpur Board, 71.69 for Barisal, 67.49 for Jessore, 61.22 for Chittagong, and 61.29 for Comilla. The overall pass rate has dropped by 4.37 per cent from last year.
Intriguingly, the HSC results have triggered a debate and a blame game between the Awami League-led government and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition. ‘The BNP and Jamaat-Shibir must accept responsibility for this as 32 HSC examination dates had to be changed due to strikes. The examination date for English second paper was changed four times. Finally it was held at the end of all other examinations although it was scheduled in the first phase. The frequent change of dates affected the examinees and created unnecessary pressure on them,’ so argued the government. It continued that the opposition parties never bothered about educational institutions and the future of students. That is why they continually kept calling hartals during SSC and HSC examinations. They declared that BNP and Jamaat are answerable to the nation for spoiling the future of the students. These words of contempt hardly soothe the minds of the students and the general public as they find no difference between the natures of political activities of both the parties.
Whichever party is in power, it talks a lot about the future of the nation, education, students, educational institutions and what not. When in opposition, it forgets these words and resort to any kind of violent programmes at the cost of untold miseries for people. So, no party’s claim rouses the attention of the students and general mass. The opposition directly says the standard of result has declined because of the wrong decisions taken by the government. They have introduced ‘creative questions’ in four subjects which the students could not understand well and ushered a decline in the HSC exam results. These reasons are not adequate for explaining the decline in results. In the contemporary era, creative question element is a must in the secondary and higher secondary levels. So the change brought in this regard was not a wrong decision. The introduction of creative questions deserves appreciation but the whole teaching community was not well prepared for it. Students did not perform well in English and chemistry. The pass rate in English in eight education boards is just over 75 per cent against 80 per cent last year. In chemistry, the pass rate is 77 per cent this year and 85 per cent last year. This could be partially due to the effect of the introduction of creative question segment.
Again, frequent hartals during the HSC examinations definitely disturbed the whole examination period. They underwent intense psychological pressure amid a sense of uncertainty in their life. Frequent changes in exam routines surely baffled the examinees and hindered their preparations which the opposition should accept. Shalahuddin Qusar Biplob, associate professor, psychology at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said, ‘Whenever any unexpected incident crosses somebody’s tolerance level, it creates a stress.’ Similarly unexpected things during examinations could lead to stress, fear and lack of concentration and their impact was manifested in the exam results.
We cannot deny the fact that the urban areas enjoy bigger advantages due to practical reasons. People dwelling in urban regions get better facilities through access to urban educational institutions that offer teaching with higher standards compared to the rural institutions. A large number of educationists and officials blamed a dearth in number of skilled teachers, lack of infrastructure such as laboratories and libraries in colleges in rural areas for the poor performance in public examinations for students living in those areas. As in the past, students of urban educational institutions did better compared to the students in rural areas although the government claims that it has taken measures to address the urban-rural disparity. No government college in rural areas could earn a place among the best institutions in four general education boards, Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet and Dinajpur which clearly manifests this divide.
There are more teachers than the required number in government colleges in the capital while there many teaching positions are vacant in government colleges in rural areas. The education ministry must play a fair game here, otherwise the gap will continue to widen.
Masum Billah is program manager at BRAC Education Programme and vice-president of the Bangladesh English Language Teachers Association. firstname.lastname@example.org.
comments powered by Disqus
LET us not get too worked up. Let us not even feel too conspiratorial. But is it coincidence that, after a series of exposures of such programs as PRISM, that a ‘global terror alert’ has been announced? Taxpayers want bang... Full story
Elected to a great extent in response to the revulsion against the unnecessary war in Iraq, Obama has so far met Putin’s sabre rattling with sweet reason. He now runs the risk, however, of appearing vacillating in the face of what his... Full story