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BSEK faces shortage of answer script checkers

Karachi, April 28, 2008: The Board of Secondary Education, Karachi, is facing acute shortage of answer scripts checkers of Mathematics and English subjects because of private schools' reluctance in getting their teachers registered with the board, says BSE chairman retired brigadier Shafiullah Qureshi.

The chairman said that the board was required to announce the results of the ongoing Class IX (general group) annual examinations by June 15 and that of Class X (science group) by July 15 under a decision of the Sindh education department's steering committee. In this situation, he said the board had no choice but to get the answer scripts of these subjects assessed in two sittings each of three hours daily at its centralised assessment centres, which normally functioned at two or three places.

In reply to a query, he said an answer script checker could not assess more than 20 answer scripts in one sitting, spreading over three hours, under the board's rules. He said that the board would have to get the answer scripts of Mathematics and English subjects assessed in two sittings daily.

"In fact, the ongoing examinations will conclude on May 7 and thereafter we will have only five weeks for compiling the results of Class IX (general group) annual examination and nine weeks for preparing Class X (science group) exam results," he said. Over 200,000 candidates of both groups were appearing in the exams, he said, adding that the board would have to get about 1,000,000 answer scripts checked, re-checked and tabulated in such a short span of time.

Brig Qureshi described the task of conducting exams of over 400,000 candidates of Class IX and X annual examinations of both science and general groups simultaneously at 500 centres across the city, and thereafter the assessments of answer scripts and tabulation a 'gigantic work'. In fact, he said, the board had not fixed any cut off date for the submission of exam forms in order to allow maximum number of candidates appear in the exams.

When his attention was drawn towards the reported leak of examination papers half an hour before the commencement of exams, he said it was an irony if a few senior teachers or headmasters, who were assigned to provide examination papers on time and bring back the answer scripts without any pilferage, got indulged in such unethical and illegal activities. However, an inquiry had been ordered in this regard, he said, adding that whosoever was found guilty would not be given such responsibilities in future.

Asked how many private schools, which were earlier registered with the BSEK, had switched over to the Aga Khan Education Board, he said that there existed around 2,500 such schools. But, he added, the BSE had faced no financial implications following their registration with the Aga Khan board. Interestingly, he said, although a separate Aga Khan Board of Education had been established, not only the Aga Khan School but even some of the elite schools were still registered with the Board of Secondary Education. Dawn
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