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Cambridge system gaining popularity in Pakistan
Karachi, Aug 28: The overall enrolment for Cambridge examinations in Pakistan rose seven percent this year, with 218,000 students appearing for O and A Levels across the country.

"We had 14,000 more students taking the exam this year, as last year the total figure was

204,000," said Uzma Yousuf Zaka, the country director of the Cambridge International Examinations.

"There has been a similar increase worldwide as a 14 percent growth has been recorded in all CIE qualifications. The enrolment rate for A Levels is up by eight percent, while global O Level enrolment went up by 15 percent," she said.

The most popular A Levels subjects in Pakistan were mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics and business studies, with 71,591 entries received for these five this year in comparison with the 69,432 last year.

For O Level students, the most popular subjects were English language, mathematics, second language Urdu, physics and chemistry, with more than 142,000 appearing in this session an increase of more than 11,000 from last year's 131,000.

"Congratulations to all students and their teachers over the hard work that went into their exam performance. At this time of the year, we all focus on results but schools know that good outcomes depend on a curriculum that inspires children to learn, motivates and challenges them and provides a good balance between knowledge and skills," said Zaka.

"That is the programme the CIE offers and our rigorous examinations are aimed at providing a fair, internationally-recognised assessment of what each student has achieved."

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'Teachers' promotions should be linked to SAT'
Karachi: The promotions of teachers should be linked with the Standardised Achievement Testing (SAT) so that an evaluation could be made as to what the students have learnt from them throughout the academic year, Chief Programme Manager (CPM) of the Sindh Education Department's Reform Support Unit (RSU) Saba Mahmood said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a media briefing at the NJV School Building, she observed that teacher absenteeism and nonchalance had been causing major hindrance in improving the status of public education in the province.

She said that in order to rectify the issue, the RSU had forwarded its recommendations to the Additional Chief Secretary (Education) Dr Fazullah Pechuho for linking the teachers' promotions with the students' learning outcomes.

According to her, the project of large-scale standardised testing of individual students prior to grades six and nine at all schools in the province is going on for the last three years in collaboration with the Institute of Business Administration, Sukkur. The tests, based on the national curriculum, evaluate the students' learning outcomes in languages, mathematics and science.

The overall results showed a poor quality of education delivery at all levels. In the year 2012, a cumulative average score of 22 per cent was achieved by the students in all three subjects, with 32 per cent in languages, 19 per cent in science, and 15 per cent in mathematics in the entire province. This has been improved by merely one per cent in the year 2013.

While discussing the Education Department's initiatives to increase access to education, Saba Mahmood mentioned that the RSU was working to bring reforms in the early childhood education that had been spared as a deadwood since long.

The curriculum for the early childhood education was formulated in 2007 but it was yet to be implemented, she said, adding that the Education Department would take practical initiatives in this context, starting from this year with the 702 consolidated public school campuses across the province.

Speaking on the occasion, Senior Programme Manager RSU Ghulam Nabi pointed out that the overall enrolment at the public schools had declined by three per cent due to delay in the rehabilitation of schools affected by floods during the last four years.

The reduction has been witnessed in the recent school census which had earlier recorded enrolment of 4.4 million students in class I to X across the province, he added.

The RSU office was formed in 2005 with the objective to build institutional capability of the Education Department through planning, research and policy formulation. The unit's head office is located at NJV School Building.

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Submission of MBBS, BDS forms at KMDC
Karachi: The Karachi Medical and Dental College (KMDC) on Wednesday announced September 9 as the date for submission of MBBS and BDS forms.

The last date for submission of admission forms has been scheduled as September 11.

The college administration informed the candidates to fill the form after going through the eligibility criteria for open merit and self-finance programmes.

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Problems of public universities discussed
Karachi: Lack of research, appointment of faculty members on political basis and armed student politics at campuses has badly affected the quality of education being offered at public-sector universities, said Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh, the vice chancellor of Sindh Madressatul Islam (SMI) University, on Monday.

He said before the subcontinent was partitioned, the British government of India had given autonomy to public-sector universities. However, later on with time that autonomy was taken away by interfering politicians and bureaucracy. According to him, now public sector universities in the country faced the challenge of poor governance and proper utilisation of funds.

Delivering a lecture at an event titled "Higher Education in Pakistan" organised by the Rotary Club Karachi, he said except for a few private universities, the rest were offering education in traditional methods, especially in the fields of business administration and information technology. He said this vacuum had been filled with private universities mostly established by businessmen.

"However, no valuable research work is being produced by faculty and students of 150 public sector universities across the country," he said. "Before the creation of Pakistan there used to be one public sector university but it produced good work."

Talking about other problems plaguing public sector universities, he said student politics had also had a negative impact on the quality of education being offered by public sector universities.

"Then forces like Rangers had to be deployed at campuses to keep the militant wings of political parties in check," said Dr Shaikh.

"Another reason for the poor performance of public universities is the political interference in the selection of faculty members. The autonomous status of administrations is no more since chief officials, such as the vice chancellor, registrar, director finance and controller of examinations, are appointed by Sindh governor on the advice of chief minister."

He said around 34 billion rupees annually were given to government universities but it not utilised properly.

"This amount was less than the annual budget of foreign universities," he said. "Meanwhile, the grants provided to public colleges in Sindh is six times less. This is also why their performance remains poor. Colleges are they are the most ignored sector of education in the country."

Talking about the SMI University, Dr Shaikh said it was opening departments of business administration and computer science. Besides, he said three public service departments, education, environmental sciences and media studies had already opened.

Concluding his lecture, Dr Shaikh said higher education in Pakistan was passing through an evolutionary phase and expressed the hope that future politicians would realise its importance and will make efforts to improve it and bring it at par with rest of the world.

He suggested providing modern facilities and a conducive atmosphere to students should be provided to students so they could study with peace of mind.

Other speakers included president of Rotary Club Karachi, Saifuddin Bandooqwala, an alumnus of the SMI university. The news

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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