Nationwide composite SSC exams still a far dream
ISLAMABAD, Aug 9: The government has failed to achieve uniformity of
examination system at the secondary school certificate (SSC) level, as the
provincial educational authorities have refused to toe the federal government's
line on examination reforms.
Considering the opposition by the provincial
boards, there is a strong possibility that the federal government would have to
withdraw its decision to hold composite examination at the SSC level, a senior
official close to the development said.
Despite opposition by all
the four provinces, the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education
(FBISE) went ahead with the composite mode of examination of the SSC earlier
As expected, a massive 50 per cent candidates who appeared in
the SSC examinations were declared failed, which further strengthened the
provinces' argument over the issue.
The FBISE also conducted examination
under a "Reformed Examination System" whereby students have to attempt a new
question paper, which was completely different from the old
Under the new format, 30 per cent of the questions were of MCQs
type, 50 per cent short answers and 20 per cent of application
Speaking at a press conference in May 2006, the FBISE chairman,
Cdre (retired) Mohammad Sharif Shamshad, explained that the new examination
system, a complete departure from old pattern, would focus more on checking the
critical and analytical abilities of students.
"First time in the history
of the country, a new examination system has been introduced, which will be
adopted by other boards too later on," the board chairman claimed. However, so
far none of the provinces have decided to accept the federal government's
Meanwhile, despite clear indications by the provincial
educational boards that they would not follow this new pattern, the FBISE did
not bother and conducted the examinations on the new form.
Last year when
this new examination system was introduced, teachers as well as students also
criticised the decision, because such drastic changes could not be adopted at a
Teachers had argued that if the government wanted to
introduce reforms in the examination system, it should be applied at least from
class-V to make students and teachers accustomed to this new form of
The FBISE used to conduct examination at the SSC level
separately for class-IX and X, and in 2002-03 on the federal boards' initiative,
the provincial educational boards also began carrying out their examination on
the same pattern. Earlier, except for Sindh and FBISE, rest of the provinces
used to hold composite examinations at matric level.
Now when the
provinces have conveyed their decision not to follow the composite form of
examination, the federal education ministry officials are also considering
reverting to separate examinations at matric level, the official
Though Federal Education Minister Lt-Gen (retired) Javed Ashraf
Qazi has repeatedly reiterated that he would continue with the new examination
system, considering the ground realities it was just not possible, according to
Replying to another question, the official said with the
present education minister having only few months left in the office, he did not
have enough time to persuade the provinces.
The Sindh province had
publicly announced that it would not go for composite examinations of SSC,
whereas other provinces, though yet to come on record on this issue, are also
sticking to the old pattern. Dawn