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CIE exams 2014 | Burdening children syllabus

81,000 students of 145 schools taking CIE exams this session
Karachi, May 10: No one knows for sure the number of students who take the exams administered by the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in Karachi every year. But it is safe to assume that the numbers are rising.

One hundred and sixty four schools are registered with the CIE in Karachi. Eighty one thousand students from 145 of these schools are taking the exams this year, according to Adele Williams, the international communications officer of the CIE.

Students have started taking this year's O- and A-level exams. Armed with their statements of entry and a transparent stationery case, they enter the examination rooms.

Invigilators match their school identity cards with other documents to check for impersonation. Once inside, the students have only their pre-exam preparation to save them, for cheating is out of the question.

This transparency of the CIE is the very reason of its rising popularity even in the middle classes. Last year 16,000 students took the O- and A-level exams in Pakistan during the May-June session.

Each year the CIE conducts examinations in two sessions: the first in May-June and the second in November.

Rough estimates suggest that last year in the May-June session alone Pakistani students paid Rs720million in exam fee to the British government.

An O-level paper costs about Rs4,000 while the price of an A-level paper can range between Rs7,000 and Rs10,000: an astronomical cost when compared with the fee of matriculation (equivalent to O-level) exams for which students pay no more than Rs1,500 for the five papers they take.

The Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, which administers the inter exams (equivalent to A-level), charges Rs1,100 each year for the six papers students take in their first and second years.

With the local education system failing to train students for top positions in the job market, parents are left with no other choice but to opt for the much more expensive British education system.

At the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), a top-notch business school of the country, 3,200 students took the admission test this year.

Only 300 students managed to pass and 80 percent of them were those who had completed A-level, according to Ishrat Husain, the dean and director of the IBA.

During a conference in Islamabad, former Engro Foods CEO Asad Umer said that when he had made it to the board of directors, 10 of the 11 members, including him, had studied at a government school.

When he became the CEO, he asked for the educational background of the new recruits. "Eighty percent of them had completed A-level."

It is exactly for this reason that even the middle-class parents are curtailing all other expenses to pay for their children's hefty examination fees.

Shehnaz Kazi, a single mother and a schoolteacher, claimed that education of her only daughter was her biggest monthly expense, which exceeded fuel costs and ration. "Education is an investment. If you give your child quality education, he can survive in the competitive world waiting for him."

Education is the UK's seventh largest export industry, which was worth over 14 billion pounds in 2008-09 and is growing at a rate of four percent a year, according to a September 2012 publication in the leading journal EducationInvestor.

For the Pakistani government, it is important to know the rising number of students opting for the CIE every year. It will give them a direction, food for thought and may even motivate them to pull their socks up. The news

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Matriculation examinations of deaf from 15th
Karachi: Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) on Tuesday announced annual examination 2014 of deaf students of class 9th and 10th would begin from May 15, 2014. Controller of Examination BSEK Noman Ahsan has directed heads of relevant schools to collect admit cards of their students from May 8 by showing of authority letter in the Board. Board has announced practical examination of class 9thand 10th postponed on May 2 due to strike in the city would now be held on May 17. Examination time and centres would remain the same.

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Experts assail govt for burdening children with heavy syllabus
Karachi: Experts on Sunday flayed government for putting heavy syllabus burden on children studying from class one to 10th and called for immediate reduction in courses by 30% so as to rid students of mental torture and heavy bags full of copies and text books.

"In Pakistan educational system faces many issues, one of which is lengthy syllabus, which needs to be resolved for good future of children. It is irony that Pakistans educational system is also not uniform, while the government institutes are not preparing students to perform well in their examinations. The heavy syllabus is over burdening students. They cannot prepare such a tormenting heavy syllabus because of the fact that their memory capacity is low as compared to their ages," said education expert and researcher Syeda Khushbakht while talking to PPI on the issue of heavy syllabus and bad governance in education system of Pakistan.

"There is need to exclude unnecessary stuff from heavy syllabus which is not matching todays life. This syllabus must be reduced by 25-30 % for good of children. Pakistan has two types of entirely independent educational systems. One is private and other is government sector. There is need to have uniform education system," she said.

Khushbakht said as private sector is very much concerned with their result, so teachers have to finish the courses in schools before time, but contrary to it, the government school teachers rarely finish courses or finish it on the nick of the hour, which is not fruitful for students.

"First of all, teaching methodology should be changed to interactive and direct method. Secondly, technology should be introduced to teaching tools even in government schools. Education is the only way through which a nation can flourish. The sincerity of teachers and good syllabus can make educational system more effective in the society," she concluded.

Search Pakistan executive director and education researcher, Waheed Jamali, said that private and government schools have put heavy burden of courses on students of primary, middle and matriculation classes, which is totally unjustified. The syllabus of private schools should be reduced by at least 30 percent so as to provide relief to children from mental torments.

He asked the government to raise education budget up to 8 percent of GDP so that this vital sector could be developed. There is need to improve governance in education system besides introducing practical based education syllabus. He said that heavy bags on shoulders of students could create health problems for kids, Jamali added.

Primary Teachers Association Sindh leader Ali Gul said that it is fact that courses being taught from one to 10th class are very heavy and students are not capable to remind all those. The long questioning system in examinations should also be abolished while short questioning system be introduced.

He suggested 30 % to 50 % reduction in these courses for making education system stable and progressive. He said: "It is unfortunate that our country has double standard in education system. Poor could not have money to get higher education, while rich ones are receiving education in higher education institutes and get jobs in multinational companies with ease.

He said a study revealed that 30% of school-going kids complain of back pain. Heavy bags can cause permanent disability, so why isn't anything being done to counter this issue?

The teachers association leader said that there was high rate of corruption in education sector which must be brought to an end for progress of the nation and the country. Daily times

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Updated: 14 Oct, 2014
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