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Drastic cut in number of SSC exam centres

Examination centres from more than 400 to just 30-40
Karachi, April 01: The Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) is actively considering a proposal to reduce the number of examination centres from more than 400 to just 30-40 from the next academic year.

This was stated by BSEK Chairman Syed Anzar Hussain Zaidi at a press conference held on Wednesday at the board's conference room. Secretary Hoor Mazhar and Controller of Examinations Kalim Asghar Kirmani of the board were also present.

Mr Zaidi said the proposal came under consideration on the directives of Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad.

Another proposal, the BSEK chairman said, was to prepare the question papers for Class IX and X annual examinations with extreme confidentiality through the maximum use of computer technology. "Sending the papers to the required examination centres through e-mail is also under study," he added.

Expressing his support to the governor's proposal on drastically reducing the number of the exam centres, Mr Zaidi argued that it would be easy for the board to manage the affairs of the examinations more effectively if there were up to 40 instead of 400 examination centres in the metropolis. There would be three or four major centres to be set up in each of the total 18 towns of the city, he said.

About the use of computers in preparing and distributing question papers, he said that Sindh Minister for Information Technology Raza Haroon had offered his department's cooperation in this regard, and said this would not only help maintain confidentiality but would also prove a prompt and time-saving exercise against the present practice of manual setting and distribution.

Mr Zaidi said that no case of cheating in the ongoing examinations had been reported to the board from any centre yet. However, he appeared not satisfied with the idea that the menace had been wiped out. "I will be convening a meeting in a day or two to discuss the issue," he said.

In order to discourage the trend, he said, the superintendents of three centres, Delhi School (Karimabad), Govt Boys Secondary School (Gulshan-i-Iqbal) and Govt Boys Secondary School (Nazimabad No 2), had been replaced with some other officials after receipt of complaints from these centres. Besides, he added, the board's research director heading the chairman's vigilance committee had also been replaced with the deputy-secretary, Khalid Ahsan.

He said that the inquiry report on delaying the SSC exams by two days would be submitted to the competent authority within the next three days. However, the committee inquiring into the paper leak that resulted in postponement of March 27 papers was expected to finalise its report soon after the completion of the ongoing SSC exams. Dawn

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BSEK suspends eight invigilators
Karachi: Eight officials posted for vigilance and invigilation duties by the Board of Secondary Education, Karachi (BSEK) were suspended from duty on Wednesday.

The suspension of six officials was announced by BSEK Chairman Anzar Hussain Zaidi during a press conference at the Board's office. The identities of those suspended remained mired in confusion, as the BSEK chairman did not provide all details at the press conference.

Later, Controller Examinations Kaleem Asghar Kirmani clarified that a total of eight officials were suspended on Wednesday, while another two were removed from invigilation duty a couple of days ago.

The BSEK chairman said that centre superintendents failed to conduct examinations in a manner that was expected of them, while both the Board and the Governor House vigilance team received complaints about their performance. "The vigilance teams did not perform as was expected of them. Three centre superintendents and three members of the vigilance teams have been removed with immediate effect," he said.

Zaidi said that centre superintendents are responsible for coping and checking malpractices and use of unfair means at examination centres, adding that the members of vigilance teams also failed to play their due role.

The centre superintendents suspended from invigilation duty include Akbar Masood Khan of Government Boys Secondary School, Gulshan-e-Iqbal Block-6, Niazuddin Meo of Delhi Government Boys Secondary School, and Ms Rizwana, the headmistress of University Campus

Those suspended from Government Boys Secondary School, Gulshan-e-Iqbal include Faheem (a junior clerk), Abdul Majeed, and Shoaib Ahmed. Mohammed Ismail, a vigilance officer from ADM School in Baldia, was also suspended from duty, while Ayesha and Nida Fatima of the University Campus were also suspended.

Kirmani said that two men from the Delhi Government Boys Secondary School, Mohammad Yaseen and Abdul Kareem Solangi, were also suspended two days ago. He said that Meo was placed for vigilance duty by the BSEK, but he was also serving as a centre superintendent.

The controller examinations stressed that these individuals have been suspended from vigilance and invigilation duties, not from their jobs.

Meanwhile, BSEK Chairman Zaidi called on the local media to discuss and highlight the issues that have occurred during the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) annual examination. He said that the Board has taken some measures to handle the situation, but the BSEK would welcome recommendations from the media and other serious stake holders.

The BSEK chairman said that some people were spreading rumours among students and their parents. He asserted that the Board has also warned several centre superintendents to improve the situation at examination centres; otherwise the Board would sideline them.

Zaidi said that the Sindh governor has recommended to the Board that the number of examination centres be minimised. "There is a possibility that places such as EXPO Centre and National Stadium Karachi would be utilised as examination centres in future," he said, adding that such places can host thousands of students at a time and it would be easy to monitor the situation, as opposed to keeping an eye on examination centres located in remote areas.

Further, the BSEK chairman said, the IT minister has also hinted at providing modern technology to solve the issue of paper leaks. The Board would consider this proposal to settle the matter, he added.

During the press conference, media personnel told the BSEK chairman that no statistics of unfair mean cases have been made available by the Board. Zaidi then directed all centre superintendents to submit their reports on regular basis. He said that holding a science paper in the second shift is not an issue, claiming that students of second shifts get more time to prepare.

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Another 16 universities for Sindh on the anvil
Karachi: As many as 16 new private sector universities in Sindh alone are in the pipeline, charters for whom are in the process of revalidation at the Provincial Education Department, well placed sources in the department informed on Monday.

Bills of these 16 universities were introduced and passed by the last legislative Sindh Assembly during its tenure.

However, later due to a technical flaw of bypassing the Education Department before introducing the bills in the provincial assembly, these cases were not refereed to the Sindh governor for endorsement, according to the Additional Secretary, Education, Sindh (Academics), Professor Rais Alvi.

The Additional Secretary disclosed that at the moment charters of these 16 private sector universities were in the process of re-validation at the Education Department, following which these cases would be refereed to the governor after an inspection committee submits the report to the governor.

The governor has constituted a committee to evaluate these private sector universities by carrying out physical and financial inspection. The committee is headed by Additional Secretary Rais Alvi and comprises Director Colleges Iftikhar Hussain Zaidi and Secretary Affiliation Committee University of Karachi Dr Shahid Hussain Zaidi.

Some of the 16 private universities include Coastal University Thatta, University of East Hyderabad, Petroman University etc.

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FUUAST: LB exam rescheduled
The controller of examinations of Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) has announced that the paper of LB (first year), previously scheduled on April 3 would now be held on 13 April 2010. There would be no change in the timing and examination center. The news

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'Teachers' problems to be solved'
Karachi: Senior Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said Wednesday that problems confronted by the teachers in the province would be solved. The minister said various demands of teachers have been met, while the decision on the remaining ones would be taken at a meeting to be held on April 7. He said the Sindh government has withdrawn its appeal filed in the Supreme Court against the restoration of teacher unions. He said promises made with teachers before the elections had been fulfilled including restoration of teacher unions. Haq said he was shocked over the baton-charge on teachers as he held them in high esteem. However, he warned teachers that if they boycotted classes, they would be replaced. ppi

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SPLA condemns police action
Hyderabad: The Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association taking serious notice of police attack on their colleagues in Karachi on Tuesday and their subsequent arrest, took out a protest demonstration here on Wednesday.

Quite a good number of college teachers took out a rally from the DPO Chowk and after marching on main thoroughfares reached the press club.

The SPLA leaders complained to journalists that this so-called democratic government had broken the record of Arbab-led government in Sindh.

They said that the teachers had gone to present their memorandum to Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah but police beat them up and kept many of them in wrongful confinement for eight hours. Teachers of Sindh should be given time scale allowance and promotions on the pattern of Balochistan they said and demanded issuance of notification in regard to their accepted demands and filling of 3,600 vacant posts of lecturers through the Sindh Public Service Commission.

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School affiliated with SU upgraded
Hyderabad: A school affiliated with the University of Sindh has been upgraded to higher secondary school level with directives to the management to begin classes from the new academic session.

Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sindh Prof Dr Nazir A. Mughal announced this on Wednesday during award distribution ceremony at Syed Pannah Ali Shah Model School, Jamshoro and promised of providing more facilities to students. He also announced of the formation of Teachers, Parents Association as the involvement of guardians goes a long way in enhancing the educational skills among their wards.

He announced Rs10,000 as seed money for the association with an assurance of getting matching amount from the university and the audience also pooled in Rs200,000.

He emphasised on the importance of teachers and parents roles in grooming the personality of their children.

The VC in response to Principal's request for promotion of teachers said that the process had already been initiated and their cases would be put before the Selection Board which would be meeting soon.

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Teachers seek raise in salary
Sukkur: Scores of primary school teachers on the call of the Primary Teachers Association (PTA) took out a procession in Mirpur Mathelo on Wednesday, demanding raise in their salary and allowances.

The teachers, carrying placards and banners and shouting slogans took to the streets from Main Primary School and, after marching on main roads of the town, reached Bhitai Chowk where they held a demonstration.

Talking to journalists, PTA president Mohammad Rafiq Jarwar said that the Sindh government was not ready to revise the salary of primary teachers who were getting higher salary and allowances in other provinces.

He said that job quota for the children of retired and deceased school teachers had been cancelled and demanded its restoration.

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College needs funds for fixtures
Okara: Government Postgraduate College students and teachers have been waiting for funds to purchase furniture and fixtures for a newly-constructed academic block for the past five years. Also, Rs500,000 sanctioned for the library are lying with the district accounts office and not being released to the college administration.

Principal Prof Iqrar Ali Rao said that the library was completed with a Rs6 million grant got approved by former defence minister, Rao Sikandar Iqbal. Later, Rs500,000 were sanctioned to purchase furniture, computers and cupboards but the same could not be released.

The principal said that after long correspondence, he brought the matter into the notice of Commissioner Tariq Mehmmod Khan, who took immediate steps and the sanctioned amount was transferred to the district accounts office for onward release to the college. However, this did not happen and the amount had been lying with the accounts office for the past three months owing to the indifference of officials concerned.

Also, the district government did not provide revenue cost grant to purchase furniture and fixtures for the new academic block consisting of 16 classrooms, eight science laboratories and the administration block completed five years ago. Owing to this indifference of the authorities concerned, the newly-constructed building was still lying vacant

The principal said that 70-year-old academic block building also needed repairs and renovation.

Locals have demanded of Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, Commissioner Tariq Mehmood Khan, DCO Ali Jan Khan and parliamentarians to take notice of the situation and get the requisite funds released. Dawn

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