Wednesday, March 19, 2014

SLC Fuss

"All preparations for SLC exams completed: OCE" was the headline in one of the e-papers I visited today. My Facebook news-feed is full of messages to my cousins, nephews and nieces appearing for SLC from today. I wonder why, why SLC is treated as such a big thing, when the students have yet to appear for many bigger challenges and competitive exams in the days to come. 

I was in 8th grade, around 1997/98, when I realized I was going to appear for SLC pretty soon. The teachers/ my parents/ relatives who cared for me used to remind me everyday that SLC was coming, and I had to prepare for it well. I remember they used to say grade 8 to be the first step to reach to that iron gate. I, being a timid, fearful girl, used to be scared and stressed all the time thinking about SLC. I thought SLC was the biggest exam to take in life and I did not have to study after SLC at all, I thought college was just a place to go and hang out with friends. Back in those days, the most fascinating thing about college I thought was even if I failed any exam in College, I would not have to stay in the same class and I would not have to say "I failed" but would proudly say "ब्याक लाग्यो ". I thought that was a proud thing to say. Now I think how naive I was. 

The first day of my SLC exam was Baisakh 02, 2057 BS. I still remember how nervous I was. My mom used to do some pooja  and used to offer me some tika and dahi every morning. My relatives would call to wish me good luck. I dad used to drop me to the exam center, "Durbaar High School" and used to ask me to pray at Kamaladi Ganesh  every day. They were just trying to help, they all cared for me and as nervous as I was for my exam, but all those care and concern made me more nervous. 

I did not do that well in my SLC, the score was lower than I used to get in my sent-up and model exams. One of the reasons I think was the stress I took for all those years. 

After SLC, when I started studying further, I realized SLC was nothing but just an exam like any other exams. I do not know about other streams of +2 education in Nepal, but +2 in Science is indeed much more difficult than SLC.  As I started studying further, I realized that there were more challenging and competitive exams waiting for me and I had to excel on all of those, or I should say, try to excel. Everything I thought about college life, while being in school, was a myth, at least for me. 

I appeared for many other bigger exams even after my SLC, but my relatives did not call me every time. My mom did not feed me yogurt everytime and my dad used to give me a ride to the exam center only when it was Nepal-Bandh (He used to ride his Hero Honda even during the bandh day wearing his Press pass :D ). This was not because my parents and relative started caring less for me. 

During SLC exam, the news papers have the headlines about SLC news.  An old guy appearing for SLC with his grandchild makes a big news, so does a women giving birth to a baby in the examination hall.  Newspapers make a big deal of SLC, so do the parents, relatives, teachers, neighbors. Everyone fusses about SLC, which I think is not worth it. 

 This fuss, I think is making students stressed and desperate. I think it's not easy in Kathmandu to pass on the chits and copy from the books during the exam, I never witnessed it myself, but I have heard a lot about those unfortunate incidents outside of valley. The students themselves should be aware that exams are to judge their skills and knowledge, they do not have to pass the exams by any means, if they fail, there is always a next time. Students should themselves avoid the chits and cheating, but they are desperate to pass the exam.  I heard that some schools provide the cheating materials to students sometimes, they want their students to pass at any rate, and pass with distinction and/ or First division at least. Then they could use the stats of SLC passing students as a mean to attract new students and make more money. SLC and the merely 15 years old examinees are being used by the schools for their purpose. If the schools teach children to cheat, I am not sure what to expect when they become Doctors, Engineers, Bureaucrats and Politicians.

Although I really think SLC does not worth all the fuss, I would like to wish all the examinees the very best. Just be confident and answer everything carefully. ( My dad suggested also me to adorn the paper with margins and highlights :P). SLC is just another exam but it does start preparing you for many more exams to come. :).  Good luck.