Sindh’s matric, intermediate exams to be held in July, announces minister

Sindh’s matric, intermediate exams to be held in July, announces minister

The matric and intermediate examinations in Sindh will be held in July, wherein the final dates for the exams will be announced within the next two days, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference at the Bilawal House Media Cell in Karachi, Ghani said he had already decided to conduct annual exams for matriculation and intermediate classes in Sindh while other provinces were yet to take the decision.

All decisions were taken after consultation with the Sindh Education and Literacy Department’s steering committee, experts, and all stakeholders of the education sector, he informed.

The minister further said that thousands of candidates had applied for the recruitment of 37,000 vacant positions of teachers.

Given the present coronavirus situation, the Institute of Business Administration Sukkur was unable to conduct the test through which aspirants would have been appointed.

A day earlier, the Sukkur bench of Sindh High Court had ordered the Shah Abdul Latif University to take the law college tests in a phased manner.

“The university should arrange exams twice or three times in a year to complete the degree programme within five years,” the bench ruled.

Earlier this week, parents demanded the concerned authorities to conduct pre-board examinations to prepare the students for the final board assessments.

The parents, worried about the future of their children whose admissions in medical and engineering institutes depend on their marks in intermediate and A-Levels, called on the authorities to hold pre-board tests which serve chiefly as practice for the final assessments conducted by the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education.

The parents are concerned about how their college-going children will perform in the intended board exams while they have not gone through proper testing and assessment as such in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Who will help them understand the nature of questions and the way to respond to those questions,” the parents asked, while terming it important that the students should go through at least one week of practice exams in their colleges.

All the stakeholders, especially parents, are wonderstruck over the question of examinations without any prior preparation.

The students have suffered an unprecedented academic loss due to the uncertain situation amid the pandemic.

It is also questionable how the students will come up to the expectations of the examining bodies i.e. school boards.

Students will be able to assess their performance in the pre-board exams and will build new strategies and put more efforts to bring good grades, a student told Associated Press of Pakistan.

Hence pre-board exams provide students with a very true picture of how they are doing in their classes, she said.

An associate professor said: “Entering the examination hall, finding roll number on the exam desk and taking a seat with an answering script and facing an unfamiliar question paper is a nerve-racking experience for many students.

She pointed out that rigorous training is required before the students sit in the exams. Multiple exams are required though yet at least one pre-board exam is direly needed at the earliest.

If students are not made to go through this process, the entire board exam shall remain detrimental to the aims of education, she added.

Having parent-teacher contact is almost impossible in the given circumstances. The only answer to the question of exams is a pre-board exam with a greater focus on familiarising students with the paper pattern and expectations of examiners in the board exams, said a parent.

She went on to say that science education is not theory but practical knowledge. I earnestly request the concerned authorities to arrange a pre-board exam before any board exams.

When contacted, a senior official of the Federal Directorate of Education said since the educational institutions are reopening, the directorate is making a strategy to conduct pre-board exams of the students.

The pre-board exams will be arranged for preparing the students for the board exams, the official added.

Last month, intermediate students in Sialkot asked the governmental authorities to postpone their exams.

The students gathered at Clock Tower and Allama Iqbal Chowk to protest against the holding of exams after Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood allowed exams to take place.

“Our request is just that the exams be delayed so we get more time to study or they may be cancelled altogether,” said a student.

The protesters complained that due to Covid-19, classes were not taking place on campus. “We went to college only for a month this year,” said a student, urging the authorities to “take an exam based on just a few chapters then.”

The education ministry had at the time decided to hold intermediate and matriculation exams in the third week of June.

Moreover, the federal education minister issued a no-objection certificate to the British Council to conduct “special” O level exams from July 26 till August 6, which the government had earlier postponed amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

“We issued an NOC today to British Council, allowing it to hold special O level exams from July 26 to August 6. This will facilitate O level students to start A level or FA/Fsc from September. This kind of exam in July is unprecedented and I am happy that Cambridge is arranging it,” the education minister tweeted on Thursday.

A letter shared by the minister that was sent to the country director of British Council-Pakistan stated that the agency “is fully authorised to conduct [a] mini exam series from July 26 to August 6, subject to all approved/notified Covid-19 SOPs existing for ‘A’ level [exams]”.

In a second tweet, Mahmood said the pandemic had “created immense difficulties in all walks of life but [e]specially in education”.

“We have been taking difficult decisions to ensure that education/learning continues. Every decision has pros and cons but for us the interest/welfare of students is always paramount,” he added.

 

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