O/A level equivalence controversy, IBCC reduces marks
Equivalence controversy surfaces again
Lahore, Sep 01, 2008: Following the announcement of O/A level results, the issue of
equivalence has surfaced once again as there has been a hue and cry about the
alleged discriminatory policy of the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), a
government body responsible for granting equivalence to foreign
The stakeholders say that the students having O/A levels
qualifications have to face problems in seeking admissions to the institutes of
higher learning, especially medical colleges owing to the alleged unjustified
equivalence policy of the IBCC. They say that the IBCC reduces the original
marks obtained by students in the said foreign qualifications and does not give
them more than 85 per cent marks even if they obtain 98 per cent marks, adding
that most of the O/A level students cannot get admissions to medical colleges
because of marks reduction by the IBCC. They demand updating and revamping of
the equivalence mechanism to provide relief to the students with foreign
Dr Farhat, a concerned citizen,
said the reduction in marks by the IBCC was causing great disparity among the
O/A level students and the FSc students, adding that the policy was unjustified
and it was putting such students in extreme trouble. He was of the view that the
idea of equivalence was to maintain uniformity, however, it had resulted in
devastating effects on O/A level students as even the A graders could not get
through the admission process.
Farhat said the A graders should not be
given less than 90 per cent marks at the time of equivalence. He stressed the
need of testing O/A level students from their latest courses, complaining that
the entry test for admission to medical colleges was based on the FSc course. He
demanded that the conversion formula of IBCC should be updated.
Commenting on the issue, IBCC Secretary Muhammad Ramzan Achakzai said
there were two UK examining boards, including the University of Cambridge
International Examinations known as CIE and Edexcel International Examinations
offering O/A levels in Pakistan, adding that those qualifying CIE exams usually
complained about equivalence policy unlike the students of Edexcel.
said the problem surfaced every year as the CIE was misleading the public by
printing percentages and not actual marks on its certificates issued to the
"The CIE is issuing certificates to the Pakistani
students which are different from those issued to students in other parts of the
world and this is misleading," he said, adding that the CIE had been asked to
print original marks of the students on its certificates but to no avail.
When contacted, CIE Country Manager Relations and Communication Uzma
Yousuf asked this correspondent to email queries about the issue, saying she
would reply within a couple of days. The email containing questions was sent to
her on August 25 however no reply had been received so far. The News
"if i have one B, one D and one E in a-levels, how many marks will it be equal to Fsc? "
City, Country: Lahore,Pakistan
"i got 641/1050 in matric.Then i got one B one D & one E in A-Levels.How many marks is it equal to Fsc? "
City, Country: Lahore,Pakistan
"i have D in bio,E in chemistry,E in physics, what will my eqivalency certificate.student who spent two years in a level,he should be elligible for fsc examination because a level failure mean no way for the student in education in pakistan and parents cannt pay more for him and the student attempted suicide because of this situation a level failure students should allow for fsc exam"
City, Country: lahore,pakistan
"i had taken pak studies and urdu litrature paper of olevels in may june 2009 and got B and A respectively so now british council haas changed their policy for gradingso i need equilency for my grades your prompt reply awaited"
City, Country: lahore pakistan
"Whats the equelance policy for Urdu B in O Level. If i switch to urdu B from A in O levels will it make any difference when equelance will be made after O Levels."
City, Country: Lahore,Pakistan
"what is the equivalence percentage of following A level grades : Maths : B Physics: D Chemistry: D and Olevel equivalence marks: 619/900"
Name: Kehkashan Kazmi
City, Country: Karachi, Pakistan
"i got E grade in O levels in 2010 examination so what grade i will get when it will be equivilised to matric level."
City, Country: rawalpindi pakistan
"can an equivalence be made if i have two complete alevels and one as level"
City, Country: Islamabad
"i have secured A* in mathematics, A* in physics,A* in urdu,A* in pakistan-studies,A* in islamyat,A in biology,A in chemistry and B in english.In brief i got 5A*,2A and 1B in olevels.WHAT ARE MY EQUIVALENE MARKS?"
"i am a student of grade 8 and am not sure of either to do o level or matric please guide me"
Name: ghazanfar ali
City, Country: shiekhupura,pakistan
"My O level result is 7 A*s and 3 As. I had A*s in Physics, chemistry, biology, ICT(Information Communication and Technology),Islamiyat, Commerce and English. Also I had an A in maths, urduA and Pakstudies. What are my equivalence marks???? Reply asap please."
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan
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Regulating private education
It seems that a lot of people, parents, bureaucrats, policy-makers and other
stakeholders want providers of private education, at the school level, to be
regulated. They feel schools get away with too much when they are allowed to
charge the fees they want and make decisions about curriculum and other related
issues in any way they like. And the government has indeed been moving in this
Apart from other legislations and requirements, provincial and
federal governments have also been thinking about the need for sector-specific
regulator for private education. The federal government passed the ordinance for
setting up a private education regulator for capital territory back in 2006. The
regulator has been in operation for about a year now. This ordinance and
regulator could, potentially, act as a pilot for similar regulations and
regulators in the provinces.
The ordinance under which the federal regulator
has been set-up has some major and a lot of minor issues. We will mention a few
in due course but, more importantly, despite the regulator being there in
Islamabad, the case for regulation of private education is not very clearly
established. We need to have a detailed look at that before we go to the
Why do we want to regulate the provision of education? It is true
that school education has a public good element where the society has an
interest in a) ensuring that all children in Pakistan get quality school
education, and b) that there are certain elements, possibly related to civic
roles of citizens, that are present in the education of all children. But this
public good element does not automatically necessitate regulation and especially
a specific regulator.
From a rights argument and from the argument of
education being a public good, all we need is that every child has access to
good quality education. This is the responsibility of the state but whether the
state provides the access through public schools or whether it happens through
provision of equally accessible private education is immaterial. Since most
private education provision is for profit, if a government relies on private
education providers it has to ensure access for the poor but, once again, that
also does not mean that we need regulation. Similarly the fact that the society
needs some input into curriculum so that national goals are taken care of is
also not an argument for regulation.
This can also be achieved through
managing the school leaving examination system. For example, if we wanted to
ensure that students have a good understanding of South Asian history or Islamic
history, we could set-up exams for these areas at the matriculation or
intermediate level. The state could specify the syllabi for the areas, and all
schools, irrespective of ownership, will have to prepare students for these
areas. Again there does not seem to be a need for regulation here.
popular demand for regulation seems to come from parents who complain that there
should be some mechanism for ensuring that private schools do not exploit their
monopoly power to extract higher level of tuition fees from parents. This aspect
needs exploration. We usually do not require regulation for prices of goods
where competition is keen and there are many producers in the
Regulations seem more justified in areas where there are few
producers, differentiated products and/or problems in information flows. Now
that 30-40 percent of school going children are enrolled in private schools
countrywide, and the proportion is much higher in urban areas as well as the
Punjab, the argument for limited choice and concentration probably does not
hold. But the argument regarding information flows still might have some
Though a recent World Bank funded research paper has argued that
there is evidence to suggest that the information market, even in rural areas,
works reasonably well. But it is a fact that there are time lags in spread of
reputation, especially when we do not have formal and specially designed
channels for information flows. Here we could have reason for regulation. But
this is not to say that the regulator should restrict the fees that providers
can charge or monitor other policies that schools should have, it just means
that we might need regulatory mechanisms, which could be private even, that
facilitate the flow of authentic and credible information on quality, price, and
other relevant variables.
There are other things that require attention too.
For schools we need buildings that are suitable for the purpose, and are safe
and secure for children. We need teachers with certain qualifications and with
certain standing in the community.
Schools should have a certain minimum infrastructure and equipment. But these
are all things that do not necessarily need a sector specific regulator.
Building codes should take care of building requirements. Labour codes should
take care of teacher benefits and information sharing should take care of
qualification issues. Infrastructure and facilities issues can be tackled
through better information as well. So, in many areas either regulations are not
needed or the needed regulations come under the purview of different already
existing laws (building codes, labour etc) and we do not need sector specific
regulators for getting these implemented.
So the case of regulating private
provision of schooling is much more circumscribed than it is made out to be. If
we look from that perspective, the Islamabad law is quite excessive and at the
same time incomplete. Strangely the law only gives power to the regulator to
regulate private schools and not public ones. If we are going to have a
regulator of educational providers should the regulator not have jurisdiction
over every body that provides education? Would it not have been surprising to
have limited NEPRA to IPPs only and exempted WAPDA from regulation? For that
matter would it not have been strange to limit PTA from regulating PTCL? But
this is the case in Islamabad law.
And then the ordinance clearly
over-regulates. It gives power to the regulator to set limits on fees (though
this power is not being used right now), to inspect schools, to interfere with
terms and conditions of service of teachers, to interfere with curriculum. It
also gives powers to the regulator to shut down schools if they are in violation
of rules, and it can also fine as well as imprison principals of schools, for up
to one year, for violations.
The principals can appeal decisions to the
federal secretary education, but the decision of the education secretary is
supposed to be final and the law does not even give recourse to people to invoke
the high courts if they want to contest the secretary's decision. This seems
draconian and even contrary to the spirit of rights provided in the constitution
where every person has the right to petition the higher courts of Pakistan if he
or she is not satisfied with decisions at lower judicial or any administrative
The officers of the regulatory authority are provided indemnity if
they act in good faith in the course of regulating institutions, but principals
and owners can be incarcerated if they even fail to ensure that right
information is going to the regulator.
The law, as it stands, is ridiculously
unjust and counter productive. What stops it from being intrusive right now is
not the limitation of the law, but luckily the government has not been able to
give resources to the regulator so that it is underfunded and understaffed. Had
the government been more serious about regulation and operationalised the law
properly, it could have had major distorting and negative impacts on the
provision of private education in Islamabad area. The spirit in which the
regulation has been set-up is that of control and not of facilitation and
developing information flows and sharing.
Regulation, in most cases in
Pakistan, whether it be PEMRA, NEPRA, OGRA, CCP, SECP, SBP, or any other
organisation, it seems, is largely seen as a means of control and for imposing
limits on organisations in a sector. It is true, in cases of restricted
competition and other special circumstances, regulation is indeed for control,
but that is not the general purpose of regulation. Regulation is a way of
facilitating markets. In fact markets cannot function without regulations.
Regulation is not a substitute for markets, we need regulations to complete
markets and where markets can work we need to ensure we do not over
Since there is demand for regulation of private education, but
private education is here to stay as the government seems to have given up on
ensuring that it is able to provide good quality education to all children in
Pakistan, we need to think through the need for regulation of education and we
need to be judicious. Islamabad has a recent and modern law for this. This could
act as an example for others. But we find this to be a poor law.
incomplete in some ways and clearly over-regulates in other places. The saving
grace is of course that the government has been unable to operationalise it
fully. We should have a comprehensive review of this law at some point soon, and
think through the idea of regulation of private education in much more detail or
we risk distorting this market too.
By Dr. Faisal Bari - The writer is an associate professor at LUMS and an economic analyst (The Nation)
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IJT stopped from organising admission camps at PU
Lahore: The Islami Jamiat Taleba (IJT) has not been allowed to set up admission camps on the Punjab University
(PU) premises this year.
According to the PU administration, no students'
group will be allowed to set up admission stalls and disciplinary action would
be taken against any violators of the ban.
The move follows the opening
of admissions at the PU after the announcement of intermediate and graduation
results. Students from across the country were applying for various disciplines.
Prior to the ban, the IJT used to set up admission camps as a show of
strength, but various varsity departments have now set up camps to help any
Hafiz Usman, a PU student, said that the IJT's
campaign to attract new students was a routine matter in the past, as the PU
administration had apparently been helpless to stop it from indulging in
He said that the administration had taken stern
action this year, and had destroyed the admission camps set up by the IJT on the
Haseebur Rehman, another student, said that various
commercial organisations used to sponsor the IJT's advertisement campaign to
attract newcomers in the past. He said that the admission season was very
important for the IJT to recruit new members into its fold. However, the
organisation lost its tempo with the ban this year, he said.
Ahsan, a student, said that the PU was the only varsity where the IJT could not
be stopped from political activities despite efforts by a former vice
"It is a good omen that the PU administration has taken a
bold stance this year and banned the IJT from political activities on the
varsity premises," he said.
"Though the ban on students' unions has been
lifted, the government should not allow any political group to distract students
from their studies," he said.
Wajahat Ali, another student, said that
the IJT was short of volunteers as most of the students concentrated their
efforts on their studies.
"A number of IJT activists have already been
expelled from the varsity for illegal activities and the administration is not
willing to re-admit them," he said, adding that most of these students feel that
the IJT had spoiled their future.
IJT PU Media Secretary Imran Kiani
said that the IJT had not set up any admission stalls this year, but its workers
were ready to guide the students.
'We have not installed camps as various
PU departments are not conducting entry tests this year," he said, adding that
they used to set up admission stalls to guide the students in the face of
difficult admission criteria.
"We work for the welfare of the students
and will hold a talent award ceremony in the honours of new students this year,"
he added. Daily Times
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Call for PU campus in Toba Tek Singh
Toba Tek Singh: A district council meeting here on Friday
demanded the establishment of a Punjab University sub-campus in Toba for the
benefit post-graduate students belonging to the district.
A press release
said on Friday the meeting also passed another resolution in which it also
demanded start of BSc (Honours) classes on the local campus of Faisalabad
Agriculture University where at present only BSc poultry science discipline was
The meeting approved the purchase of furniture worth Rs
781,500 for Sultan foundation trust school under its citizen community board
programme scheme. Dawn
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