PESHAWAR: The most recent decision of public sector schools to promote students who received as low as 10% in the yearly exams is evidence that the quality of education in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) has been steadily declining for more than ten years.
The PTI government in K-P implemented a policy of passing pupils with only 10% marks in its public schools, despite the fact that the typical passing grade in Pakistan is 33%, ostensibly in an effort to lower the dropout rate.
Yet, this action has been criticized by school authorities and concerned citizens as being a short-sighted strategy that affects educational standards and results.
According to official sources, the policy was enacted in accordance with the provincial government’s instructions.
Government schools released the grades for classes 1 through 8 on March 31. In order to motivate pupils, the government had already instructed the district education officers to maintain the percentage of failed students to a minimum.
A district education officer (EDO) reportedly convened meetings with school heads to tell them of a rule that permits kids to pass with just 10% of the total scores (50 out of 500). This is a troubling sign of the provincial education system’s collapse because it implies a weakening of academic standards.
The fact that students from Peshawar’s rural districts made up the bulk of those who passed with such poor grades serves as a reminder of the need for focused aid and investment in these areas.
The coalition administration led by the Awami National Party (ANP) instituted the policy to automatically advance all pupils to the subsequent grade after yearly exams with the intention of lowering dropout rates. Yet, this strategy runs the risk of devaluing education and jeopardizing students’ long-term prospects.
The programme was further expanded in 2022 to allow children in grades 1 through 5 to graduate with just 5 to 8% of the possible points, and those in grades 6 through 8 needed just 15 to 18% points, as opposed to the customary threshold of 33%. This calls into question the effectiveness of the government’s strategy for enhancing educational outcomes as well as the standard of instruction being offered.
Over the past 16 years, our nation’s educational system has adhered to a rule that forbids failing any student. This rule was implemented to both raise the literacy rate and stop pupils from becoming disheartened and quitting school. High school principals, who object to admitting children in grade six who cannot even write their own names, have strongly criticized this approach.
Teachers have opposed this policy from the start, but they were not involved in its creation because it was developed behind closed doors by ministers and bureaucrats without taking into account the views of all parties involved. Because of this, many teachers consider kids who enroll in high school without the necessary credentials to be a burden on them.
The administration must reevaluate this strategy because it has been tried and tested for the past 16 years without yielding any positive results. Students entering sixth grade should be subjected to qualification exams at high schools to make sure they possess the abilities needed to succeed. In order to monitor students’ development more accurately and make sure they are well-prepared for higher education; the government should also reinstate board exams for grades 5 and 8.