The pass rate in the HSC and equivalent examinations is 66.64% this year
Education experts have found this year's results of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations consistent and depict a reliable scenario of the state of country's higher secondary education system.
The countrywide pass rate in the examinations is 66.64% this year – 2.27 percentage points less than last year's 68.91%. The variation of a few percentage points is expected, the experts further added.
“I would not say that the results deteriorated this year. In a public examination, pass rates of two consecutive years can differ by two or three percentage points,” said Fahima Khatun, former director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE).
She further said the HSC results reflected the quality of secondary education in Bangladesh.
“For instance, students under the Humanities group have scored poorly all over the country. As per the usual trend, students who do not score well in the Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams transfer to the Humanities group in the HSC. But what people don't realize is that the HSC program is different and vast compared to the preceding public examination syllabi,” she said.
Rasheda K Chowdhury, former adviser to the caretaker government and executive director of the education advocacy group Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE), said the HSC results had become reliable and consistent with reality in recent years.
“This year’s HSC results seem to be consistent. This is the real picture,” she told the Dhaka Tribune.
She credited the government's Bangladesh Education Development Unit (BEDU), which started streamlining the evaluation process of public examination answer scripts last year.
“After much analysis and examination, the BEDU has created answer models, which the examiners can use to evaluate answer scripts. Earlier, teachers received small remunerations to check the answer scripts, which lead to poor and negligent evaluation. With the introduction of BEDU, that problem has been solved,” she told the Dhaka Tribune.
Rasheda further explained how BEDU operates.
“They have been providing suitable training to question setters and moderators to create question papers for the examinations. This has ensured reliable and accurate evaluation of answer scripts, which is why the results are reliable,” she said.
Professor Emeritus Dr Serajul Islam Chowdhury expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that more than one-third of this year's candidates had failed the exams.
“The pass rates of public exams like SSC and HSC should be 100%. By the time the examinees sit the public exams, they have gone through extensive preparation provided by their schools and colleges. I don't understand why, then, the results fluctuate so frequently,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
He also criticized the general hype and focus on the results of public examinations.
“Public examinations are routine events. Instead of worrying about the results, the government should work to ensure quality education,” he further added.
The former Dhaka University professor also urged the education authorities to refrain from excessive experimentations with the public examination system, and ensure effective classroom teaching to steer the students away from coaching centres.
CAMPE chief Rasheda further laid emphasis on the fact that the number of candidates was very high – the nationwide fail rate is over 33%.
“We must identify why these students have failed and what their problems are. The government should focus on that,” she added.
She also urged the government to increase investment in the country's education system in order to create equal and standard opportunities for the students.
“Despite the fact that the number of GPA 5 scorers has reduced this year, we are still not able to provide opportunities for higher studies to all the existing GPA 5 holders. This is because Bangladesh’s investment in education in terms of the GDP rate is the lowest in South Asia,” she added.