There will be no re-examination of the English paper II, says the Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) board.

The board unanimously decided that the best option at the moment is to validate the results based on marks students obtained in the sister paper, English I. This means that if a student scored 70 in English I, it will be considered the same for English II. The board had, after much consultations and thought, decided that this is the best way forward in the interest of time, logistics, and to avoid hassle for students.

This is a fair decision, at least on the board’s side. There are reports of hundreds of students still waiting to go home or go on vacation as the decision was kept pending since December 19 when news of the leaked question paper was confirmed. By not re-conducting the exam, it will save the government millions of ngultrums, and for the students, time and hassle of having to come to the examination centres for another round. Teachers and examiners will not have to cut short their break.

But with the news now reaching most of the students, within a few hours of the decision, there seem to be a feeling that the board didn’t take the interest of the students into consideration. The board came to the decision of basing their English performance on just one paper considering that the two papers compliment each other. They have checked past performances and came to the conclusion that there is a “positive correlation” and that those who perform well in English I usually do the same in English II.

Students and teachers, however, disagree and fear that this is not a fair decision. They feel that while there are similarities between the two papers, they are there to assess students on entirely two different things. English I assess the student’s grammar and language mostly, while English II concentrates on student’s critical thinking and analysis.

Paper II is mostly literature and students are exposed to different genres like poetry and drama. The paper is text-based and students claim they usually perform better in paper II than I.  Those Kuensel contacted said that they were depending on their English II marks to make up for I. An aggregate mark is taken for the final mark.

But there could be others who did badly on paper II. This will be the advantage for them. Either way it sounds unfair for students. Some, rather most, have not gotten their hands on the leaked questions and could have fared better in paper II than I.

The question going around is why not a re-examination when the results are declared only in February and the board came to know about the leaked questions immediately after the examination. The government will save a few millions for not conducting the examinations again, but for students who toiled hard for one full academic year and are disadvantaged for no making of their own, it is not fair.