July 17, 2014 Print

In Nepal, every student must face “the Iron Gate” – a colloquial term for the School Leave Certification exams given upon completion of 10th grade. Passing is a requirement for going on to higher levels of education. Samriddhi researcher Surath Giri explained in República – one of Nepal’s top media outlets – that students in government-run schools appear to be at a great disadvantage for passing through the Iron Gate. In results announced in mid-July 2014, the pass rates in public schools were an embarrassing 28 percent, compared to 93 percent for private schools. Giri debunks the idea that the disparity is explained by greater resources, as he points to schools like Samata Siksha Niketan – popularly known as “Bamboo School”, charging just 100 Nepalese Rupee per month (barely over US $1) but achieving 100 percent pass rates. Giri writes, “There are dozens of measures the government could take to lift public schools’ performance and set them at par with the private schools. Pouring more money into the existing structure is not one of them.”