Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai

Cut-off and, on and off

All Class X students who successfully complete the board examinations will be absorbed in government and private schools.

Two weeks after the national education conference decided not to do away with the cut-off point (the minimum percentage required to qualify for higher secondary school), Education Minister JB Rai yesterday, without mentioning the word ‘cut-off’, said Class X students will get an opportunity to continue their studies.

Creating confusions and pausing for a few seconds when questioned on the cut-off point, lyonpo said the government has decided and would absorb all the class X students with pass certificate to study in both public and private schools.

“It was a bold decision that government took and the ministry is already working on categories on how to absorb the students in different streams in the public schools,” he said. “The government may not be able to place all in public schools. We will provide scholarship for those placed in private schools,” Lyonpo JB Rai told Kuensel.

Lyonpo JB Rai said the cut-off point was created because of shortages of teachers, lack of classrooms and shortages of high schools. It did not mean that those who didn’t qualify were not good in studies.

“We’ve discussed this in length and I’m sure parents and children are worried, as the class X result is not yet declared. I don’t know what kind of dreams they might have right now, but we’ve decided it would start from 2019 academic session.”   

The government had pledged to do away with the Class X cut-off point to not leave students who do not qualify through the merit-based competition.

The issue of cut-off point was raised as a question yesterday during the question hour. Khar-Yurung members of parliament (MP) Tshering Chhoden asked the minister if the government would do away with the cut-off points as pledged from the 2019 academic session.

“Although it is a good idea to narrow the gap, doing away with cut-off point may result in shortages of teachers and inadequate infrastructures because public schools would be taking in entire class 10 students,” the MP said. “This may also discourage students from working hard and impact on the quality of education.”

However, no members recalled the recent national education conference, which decided to stay with the cut-off points and instead add a fourth stream, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

The education minister also did not explain the national conference’s decision. He said while they understand the concerns raised by Parliament members, the ministry has its own experts who are working to make sure such implications are not met and are well prepared.

Meanwhile, the minister told Kuensel that TVET has no link with the class 10 cut-off point or with the government’s pledges. “TVET is like any other streams that would concentrate on building skills,” he said.

The December 2018 education conference decided that the government would fund the TVET students through scholarship programmes, in private schools, which would be given the opportunity to enroll students in the TVET stream.

It was also underlined that since the government would not be able to place all Class X graduates to Class XI due to space, shortage of teachers, and lack of infrastructure, private players are brought in with public-private partnership (PPP) model.

“We’ll have to now talk with the private schools and work out on it soon,” said Lyonpo.

Yangchen C Rinzin 

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