Aneela Nayab

The decision of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government schools to promote students with as low as 15% marks to the next class has raised questions about the effectiveness of the public education system. While it may seem like a compassionate approach to prevent students from failing, this practice may hinder students’ learning and cause them to fail in the long run.

The difference in results between public and private educational institutions in the region is quite evident, with public schools struggling to produce good results. One reason for this disparity is that instead of failing students who are weak in their studies, they are promoted to the next class. Consequently, the students are not interested in learning, and their lack of motivation leads to a lack of interest in their studies. Every year, they pass, only to face failure in board exams while holding the teachers responsible.

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When trying to understand the situation of government school teachers in this regard, the principal of a government school in Peshawar shared that they fail the students who get less than 33% marks. However, because of the pressure from parents, even children who get 10% marks are forced into new classes. Parents do not visit the school throughout the year, but they start showing up when the child fails, expecting the teacher to promote the weak students or to punish those who are weak in studies and get less than 33% marks. Teachers are often threatened by parents for not passing their children.

The principal of the government school in Peshawar shared an incident where the mothers of girls who failed and did not come to school throughout the year, even when called by teachers, requested that their daughters be passed by any means necessary. In another instance, a father threatened to throw his wife out of the house if their failing daughter was not promoted to the next grade. Such behavior is inhumane, and parents need to take more responsibility for their children’s education.

Continuous promotion of weak students is one reason for the poor results in government schools. The student’s perception that they will be promoted anyway, regardless of their academic performance, leads to a lack of motivation to learn. In turn, this leads to ridicule of public school teachers, who are perceived to be incompetent compared to their private school counterparts.

To address this issue, government schools conduct half-monthly, nine-monthly, and annual examinations, along with monthly tests for each subject, to evaluate students’ abilities. Teachers can prepare annual exam papers with these tests and examinations’ results, considering not only able children but also weak and unfit children. This may help such children become proficient in their studies and pass on their merit, rather than through recommendations.

In conclusion, the government must make it obligatory for teachers of all government schools to play their role in educating students and teach them lovingly that neglecting their studies will be their fault. Promoting weak students may seem like a compassionate approach, but it can harm the students’ learning and cause long-term problems.

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