Saturday, October 29, 2011

Déjà vu: ‘Just double checking to be sure’

Déjà vu: ‘Just double checking to be sure’

Published: October 29, 2011

BISE and teachers lock horns over rechecking first year exam papers.


The Punjab professors and lecturers association has boycotted rechecking answer sheets in all educational boards across the province.

Punjab professors and lecturers association president Dr Zahid said that the department heads of several colleges were trying to pressure them to recheck the answer sheets in board offices but they refused.

“Teachers from other cities are forcibly being brought to board offices to check papers but we will refuse,” said an examiner Muhammad Shahid. Teachers across the Punjab have boycotted rechecking the papers and said that they would not recheck the papers until the time scale was extended and the contract policy was abolished.

Faisalabad Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) chairman Syed Mumtaz Hussain Shah said that the first year papers were being rechecked in a fair and transparent manner and that the authorities were negotiating with teachers who had refused to check papers. “The rechecking will be completed within one-and-a-half months and then we will announce the results,” he said.

Pakistan Literacy Development Centre (PLDC) chairman Dr Muhammad Arshad also visited the Faisalabad BISE offices and reviewed the arrangements made for rechecking of the first year papers. “It has been a stressful time and it is unfortunate that so many students have had to suffer but now the errors are being corrected,” he said. The Punjab government cancelled the results of intermediate first year exams as a number of complaints were received which said the first year result was full of errors and mistakes due to inefficiency of board staff and paper checkers.

A number of students were marked absent and their results were not announced despite them having appeared in the examinations. After the results were announced, students across the province started protesting against the education board and staff.

According to a professor of Government College, Samanabad, the errors and mistakes occurred due to gross mismanagement and the ill-conceived policies of the Education Department. “Our government and the Education Department has been unable to evolve a comprehensive system for the promotion of education and the meagre resources that are being spent on this sector are being wasted,” he said, on condition of anonymity. “The Education Department is introducing a new system every year.

This is not the time to experiment with the future of our youth. They choose to do it during exam terms rather than the rest of the year,” he added.

“There are obvious flaws in the new computerised examination system. The students become confused when they received an answer sheet to answer the questions by filling boxes and the computer did not recognize most of their answers,” said an examiner in Faisalabad, Sohail Mashadi. “The bigger problem is that most staff members are completely unfamiliar with these new data entry methods and that is why so many roll numbers were fed incorrectly,” he added.

“We have already checked the papers once and if we are being asked to check them again we will expect more time and compensation. The government shouldn’t expect us to pay for their administrative mistakes,” said a professor, Ali Yar Khan.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 29th, 2011.

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