In a recent development that has raised eyebrows in the education sector, it has been reported that 51% of ninth-grade students in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) failed to pass their previous board examinations. This significant failure rate has been attributed to the abrupt shift from rote learning, known as the “Ratta” system, to a more conceptual learning approach, referred to as Student Learning Outcome (SLO).
The decision to change the examination format in the middle of the academic year was met with mixed reactions. The head of one of the education boards criticized the government for this sudden shift, arguing that it was unfair to the students who had been preparing under the old system. On the other hand, a headmaster from a government school praised the move, stating that the new methodology would foster better understanding and knowledge retention among students.
51% of Class 9 Students Fail
However, he also expressed concerns about the preparedness of the teaching staff to effectively implement this new system. He pointed out that many teachers, especially those promoted from primary school teachers, drawing masters, and Arabic teachers, might struggle to teach their subjects conceptually. In contrast, teachers recruited through test agencies and public service commission were expected to adapt to the new system more easily.
The government has allocated a budget of Rs. 300 billion for the education department for the current year. Despite this, the performance of government school students was significantly lower than their private school counterparts. Out of the 269,367 government school students across the province, only 49% managed to pass the exam, compared to a 74% pass rate in private schools.
51% of Class 9 Students Fail After Ratta System
Officials from the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar revealed that the previous papers were based on rote learning. Following the government’s decision, they were required to compose 50% of the papers based on conceptual learning. They confirmed that future examinations for both ninth and tenth grades would be based entirely on the SLO system.
Another government teacher attributed the high failure rate to overcrowded classrooms, arguing that conceptual learning is nearly impossible in such conditions. This highlights the need for infrastructural improvements in schools to facilitate effective learning.
While the shift from rote learning to a more conceptual approach is a progressive step towards improving the quality of education, its abrupt implementation and the lack of preparedness among teachers have led to a significant increase in failure rates. It is crucial for the government to ensure that teachers are adequately trained and classrooms are well-equipped to support this new learning methodology.