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How far is it reasonable to conduct 5-hour exam?

Columns 2024-05-11, 12:48am


Masum Billah

Masum Billah

Does the latest decision of NCTB talk about a sound planning of evaluation of the learners?

The curriculum introduced in January last year has yet to see the established and accepted evaluation system that has sparked a lot of criticism from all concerned particularly the guardians and conscious educationists of the country. In response to the repeated demands of the guardians NCTB sat in the first week of March 2024 to ascertain how the public examination is going to take place that once again talks about the flaws and shams of the curriculum that the introducers did not basically think of assessing students nationally even though they have been claiming it to be an ideal, very ideal curriculum. They have been seen to remain busy with describing and explaining the very positive aspects of the curriculum.

To speak the truth, the points of new curriculum the authorities frequently try to convince the students and guardians firstly seem to be theoretically positive, very positive. They advocate in favour of removing the anomalies of the previous system of memorization without understanding, banning note and guide books and closing down the coaching centers and coaching business. All these seem that they have been trying to gain cheap popularity ignoring the practical scenario of the country and time. Private tuition is still going on and social media has been flooded by guide and note books as one can easily it while opening fb. We basically needed to introduce more creative questions that will indirectly discourage students or the note and guide books of the market will not directly help develop their creativity and obtain good grades in the examination. We also needed to devise plans so that students read in the classroom, read textbooks. We needed to create such type of situation as will compel the students to go through the textbooks and write , present and describe the topics of their own without depending on notes, guides, coaching centers or only private tutors. Without practically attempting any of these, we just upset the entire situation that will take many years to restore normalcy. By this time, the damage which the students will face and incur, who will take this responsibility is unknown to us.

Many people raised the points to keep at least partially formal written test but authorities did not pay any heed to it. Now they have decided responding to the practical situation that without any written test no evaluation can be made properly. It proves their thoughts and ideas were not complete, not founded on well thought-out plan. According to the latest decision it is said that the evaluation test will be of five hours in the mid-term and annual examination. SSC and HSC exams will be like public exams in another school. It does not give a clear message and it was not in their plan. When guardians and educationists have started asking questions and giving one kind of pressure as how will be the form of public exams, then they have given such type of answers after having a series of meetings. It again proves that their plans are still not based on a sound fact. They say the public exams will be in another school? What does it mean? Does it mean in any neighbouring school? If so, it will not be an evaluation at all. There will be either mutual understanding among the schools that they will offer the highest grade to each school’s candidates. Whatever they do, however they do, their performance indicator will be the highest.

Or, a strong enmity will arise among them which will also deceive the pupils seriously. The sham does not end here. Five hours exam means students will have to face fifty hours exam which was for thirty hours in the previous system and the current authorities showed their complacence and they have been beating the drum that students don’t have any pressure or thought of exams.

They will be free. It means quite opposite or reverse plan. Not only that, when students will be in the examination halls or in neighboursing schools for five hours means eight or nine hours including their coming and going back time and it will be more than that in haor, hilly or hard to reach areas. During this long period how students will have to go without food? How they will give attention to their work? The authorities don’t have any answer. Yes, when you ask questions, they have their ready answer which does not have any strong base or does not show their sound planning. Worst of it, who will look at or supervise one thousand or several thousand students in an examination center all day long? Do we have so huge manpower? Even if we manage, do they have so much time and energy to carefully care about so many students?

Definitely not, meaning it will not be any assessment or evaluation. This is just to satisfy the guardians and those who have been talking about, not proper evaluation of the learners’performance.

There will be six sessions in five hours. Out of them four will be practical and one hour will be theoretical. First of all, orientation will be given to the students. One student will have to work in group and again everyone will work separately that is practical. They will have to show their performance to the teachers responsible for evaluation. All these plans and programs never talk about real and practical situation prevailing in our education scene. Still, we have time to be practical, still we show our reasonable and judicious attitude towards the entire process.

Masum Billah President- English Teachers’ Association of Bangladesh ( ETAB) Cell: 01714-091431 Email: