The Secondary Education Examination (SEE), which was the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination until 2016, is an institution in itself. Started in 1934, the exam, dubbed the Iron Gate for Nepali students, has been held every year for the past 87 years without interruption.
There were tough times over the past eight decades and major events like political upheavals, movements, strikes and bandhas, fighting and insecurity during the people’s war posed huge challenges to the exam. There were also controversies and allegations of dishonest behaviour. But it was a given staple of Nepali culture that the exams would begin in March and results would come out in June. Till 1990s, the exam used to be held in January.
Ajit Pandey, who scored 90 per cent in his SLC in 2012 and stood fourth in his district of Dhading, recalled how happy he was when his results were published. “I wasn’t very stressed but the moment felt big,” he said. Similarly, Saroj Koirala, who was the highest scorer among students from community and government schools of Makawanpur with 84 per cent in 2006, was relieved when he heard his result. He said, “SLC was a big deal and I was happy I passed with decent marks.”
This year too, had things been normal, SEE students would have been waiting for their results right now. But things weren’t normal and the COVID-19 pandemic forced the government to indefinitely postpone the exams on March 18, a day before they were scheduled to begin. And after nearly three months of uncertainty, the cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided to cancel this year’s SEE altogether – for the first time in history.
Largely, guardians and students agree with this decision, although some wanted it to have come sooner. Apekshya Thakuri, whose son was waiting to appear SEE exams, welcomed it saying, “This is something that had to be done. The coronavirus is spreading rapidly and we couldn’t have had large number of children gathered in schools for this exam.” But some like Bhakti Malla are displeased with the amount of time government took to decide this. “It was clear that the epidemic
would not end soon. So, the government should have made this decision in March itself and put our children at ease.”
Manank Upadhyaya was fully prepared to begin his SEE and was looking forward to it when it got postponed.
He is fine with the decision to cancel the exams now but does not believe it needed to be put on hold in March. “There was no reason to postpone our exams as Nepal only had two COVID-19 cases then.
The government should have let us finish it and then imposed the lockdown.” His view was shared by many other prospective examinees that The Rising Nepal spoke to.
But many were nevertheless happy that a decision finally came, ending the uncertainty, and now want the results to be published soon.
SEE student Sambriddhi Dahal said, “Since internal assessments can be done by the schools, we want the results to be released soon now.”
source : The Rising Nepal