Students bear the costs of re-examination

Students bear the costs of re-examination

Social media sites earlier this week were flooded with notes of appreciation and pictures of those who excelled in the class XII Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate examinations. Students of Tashitse Higher Secondary School (THSS), Wamrong, Trashigang, were not party to the celebrations. However, students and parents of the school say that they could have equally triumphed and celebrated had it not been for the re-examinations that the students had to undertake, as answer sheets of the examinations they sat for in December 2022, went missing.

One of the many who are currently distressed, is Rinzin Lhamo, a class XII science student. “I did not get time to prepare and I had forgotten what I had studied earlier”, she said, adding that she had performed very well in the former examinations. She is today a victim of “mistakes that others had committed.” “I do not have hope for admission in any tertiary institution. The re-exam has really affected me and others,” Rinzin said.

The same is underlined by Dhendup Dema, who now has no choice but to repeat. “I would have at least passed, had it not been for the re-examination,” she said, highlighting that she did well in the earlier examination. “There was no time and gap between the different papers and I could not prepare well,” she added. 

Speaking on the same lines, Sonam Zangmo said that she could not do the physics and chemistry papers as well as she had done in the earlier exam. “My results are just average. I am not at all satisfied with the scores and this would not be the case if we did not have to re-sit the exam,” Sonam added.

Equally disgruntled is Tshering Nidup, who has no record of having failed in any exam until now. “I am getting the pass certificate not awarded (PCNA) result for the first time in my life and it is all because of the re-exam,” Tshering said. Underlining that he would have been satisfied if he had failed in the earlier exam, like others, Tshering said that he is also a victim of something he has no relation with. “Why should we be punished for negligence of others,” he questioned.   

It is not just students, but also parents who are crying foul. Kezang Choden, mother of Tshering Dorji, told the paper that initially, most of the parents were happy as their children informed them that they had performed well. However, the re-examination has changed everything.  “The children are saying that the re-exam has damaged the academic result. I am equally stressed as my son and it is the same with most of the parents and children.” Kezang is now wondering what she should do next as her son’s marks will get him nowhere close to any tertiary learning institute in Bhutan.   

Pema Lhaden, aunt of Kuenzang Dorji, said that her nephew is a topper, with several certificates of academic excellence to his credit. “He came home with smiles after the main exam. But later, upon hearing that they will need to re-sit, he was disturbed; he had no time to prepare and this is clearly indicated by his results,” Pema added.

While teachers and the principal of Tashitse HSS could not be contacted, a teacher who did not want to be named said that the class XII examinations are very important for students. “For many, the class XII examinations determine their later destinations. Apart from finding a place in one of the colleges within the country, it is a point where you will find students choosing their professions,” the teacher added. He stated that based on their marks, students decide to choose a career in medicine, engineering, economics and other fields. “Everyone in their shoes would be distressed. And they were science students,” he said.

40 class XII students of THSS had to re-appear the board examination for four papers, English II, Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics, after officials found that answer sheets of the above were missing when consignment of the answer sheets were opened for evaluation at Losel Gyatsho Academy in Sarpang. The incident happened in the second week of January 2023. The 2022 Bhutan Higher Secondary Education Certificate examination was completed on December 31, 2022 and assessment of all the answer scripts of 84 schools began in January 2023. The students re-sat for the examination on January 19, 2023.

Preliminary investigations found that the secured boxes had been intentionally tampered and specific examination envelopes for certain subjects removed.

Sangay Rabten from Thimphu