School Leaving Certificate (Nepal)
The School Leaving Certificate, popularly abbreviated as SLC is the final examination in the secondary school system of Nepal. It is equivalent to GCSE, the academic qualification in UK. Every student must take this examination for completing the 10th grade of their study before they join higher secondary or intermediate level education. The SLC examination is normally scheduled in April to June of every year. It is known as the "iron gate" in Nepal. In reality, however, there are indeed more obstacles regarding higher-level studies after the examination. Nevertheless, the SLC Examinations are the most important examination in the educational system of Nepal for building an academic career.
Nepal is divided into five development regions and seventy-five districts and each region has many examination centers(as per the Examination Commission's Plan). The examination question differ from region to region but is the same within one single region it is because if the exam is cancelled then only one region is affected and only the questions of that region has to be prepared. Every examination takes place at the same time throughout the whole country. There are different centers for the different students belonging to different school.
About two and a half months or even three months after the completion of the SLC, the results are published by the Examination Control Board. Students are categorized into five divisions according to their score:
- Distinction - above 80%
- First Division - above 60%
- Second Division - above 45%
- Third Division - above 32%
- Fail-Below 32%
Despite such a low percentage requirement to pass the examination, many students (more than 50%), mostly students of governmental schools in rural areas of Nepal, still fail it every year because of the difficulty level that the exam has. Since government schools are known for being less rigorous to students as compared to the private schools, government school students are reportedly more likely to be in the pool of students who do not pass the exam. Even if one fails to get above 40 marks in each subject, they are declared failed. The result of the SLC is very important to an individual student, since students with high percentage are able to obtain various scholarships for their higher secondary level education.Currently, government is working on grading system that may change the educational system of Nepal. However some critics are already seen before its implementation.
Some educationalists in Nepal criticise the SLC exam by citing its irrelevance in the present context and say that the test is neither standardized nor can it assess the capacity of Nepalese children. The education experts, for the past three decades, have been asking the government to review and revise the SLC examinations but the government, they say, is running the same old mechanism that will still be running in the same way for several decades more. And also there is no trend of SLC examination results in a continuum, rather it is so haphazard that the SLC results can not be trusted, they say.