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Matric exam cheaters, abettors caught red-handed

Mass level irregularities and use of unfair means
Karachi, April 08: A large number of students were caught using unfair means during the last paper (Maths) of Class X. Special rooms purchased by individuals and groups of people - as reported in detail on Tuesday - were found to be functioning in clear violation of examination codes of conduct during an official raid of a special team of the Board of Secondary Education, Karachi (BSEK) on Tuesday.

Following information of mass level irregularities and use of unfair means as well as special rooms created for cheating purposes, a two-member special team of the BSEK, a private television channel and other print journalists, raided the Government Boys Secondary School, Port Qasim.

Students of private schools, including noted school systems such as Educators and Beacon House School System, were caught red-handed while cheating in specially purchased rooms.

Soon after the joint BSEK-media team entered the aforesaid school, they found Five-Year Solved Papers, pocket guides, course books, and other illegal stuff lying on desks openly in the 'special rooms'. One candidate was solving his paper with the help of his mother in a separate room that was locked on the inside.

During the raid, the school administration tried to resist the media people from capturing the scene. Students, on seeing the mediafolk with cameras, made desperate efforts to hide cheating material and threw a whole lot of books beneath their desks.

The same team also raided a private school in Saudabad, Malir, and a Government School in Sahibdad Goth, Malir. The scenes at the Saudabad private school were the similar to those in GBSS Port Qasim. The special team prepared their report and sent it to the BSEK.

Retired Professors who are appointed on a contract basis are responsible for the existing mess in secondary and higher secondary examination boards, said Minister for Education and Literacy, Pir Mazhar Ul Haq, adding, "Unlike serving staff, they are not bothered about losing a job and seem to be accountable to none."

He further said that he called on Governor Sindh Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan recently and both have agreed to put in collective efforts to make the activity at examination centres and examination process transparent. Responding to a question he said that a list of senior serving professors was being prepared and would be sent to the Governor's House soon.

He further said that Governor Ebad had assured cooperation and showed his seriousness on the issue.

Sources from the Governor's House Education Secretariat also said that a file of executive level officers at the BSEK and Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi (BIEK) had been prepared for action by the Governor. They also said that retired professors would likely be replaced by serving officers of the Sindh Government. The News

Action against 20 officials imminent: SSC exam scam
Karachi: Stern action, including termination of service, is likely to be taken against around 20 officials of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi and the city district government's education department in a couple of days for their reported involvement in malpractices in the on-going Secondary School Certificate examinations, well-placed sources said on Tuesday.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, who is also the controlling authority of the education boards of the province, had formed a two-member committee on March 30 to inquire into the matters relating to an unauthorised examination centre, found running at a private school of Shah Faisal Colony, and other irregularities in the BSEK's on-going Secondary School Certificate examinations.

The sources in the Sindh governor's house secretariat said the committee, comprising adviser to the governor Yousuf Jamal Khan and Sindh Board of Technical Education Chairman Prof Saeed Ahmed Siddiqui, in its lengthy report submitted to the governor on Tuesday recommended stern disciplinary action against 20 officials of the BSEK and the education wing of the CDGK for their alleged malpractices in the examination.

The report has also recommended that cases of criminal nature be instituted against five or six private persons, including members of private schools' management organisations and teachers, for their alleged involvement in malpractices in the examinations.

The report also suggested strict action against the management of Shah Faisal Colony's Al-Umer Foundation School, where the illegal examination centre was found. "Al-Umer Foundation School, where an authorised examination centre was found, was not more than a coaching centre because it was currently running unlawfully as its previous registration with the directorate of schools had expired in 2007," the report said.

The report is being vetted by officials of the Sindh governor's secretariat and action against the officials involved in the irregularities in the examinations is expected to be taken by the governor either on Wednesday to Thursday.

Asked what action could be taken against the officials involved in malpractices in the examinations, the sources said the committee had suggested that an inquiry be conducted against the BSEK officials under the educational boards' efficiency and disciplinary rules while an inquiry against the officials of the CDGK education department and Sindh government officials, who are on deputation either in the CDGK's education department or the BSEK, should be conducted under the Sindh Government Efficiency and Disciplinary Rules.

Elaborating, they said initially all officers involved in malpractices in the examinations would be suspended and issued show-cause notices and if their replies were found unsatisfactory, their services would be terminated.

The sources said the committee during its week-long inquiry interviewed around 100 persons, including the BSEK chairman, officials of both the BSEK and the CDGK education department, invigilators and centre superintendent of Shah Faisal Colony's Government Agro-Technical High School. Besides, the committee visited Al-Umer Foundation School.

The committee report pointed out the involvement of some members of the public in carrying teachers and students from one place to another, besides mentioning inter-institutional malpractices of a serious nature, the sources said. Dawn

19 schools to switch to English medium
Karachi: Nineteen schools are to switch to English as the medium of instruction, and free books and uniforms will be provided to children, said said Syed Asif Husnain, a Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) MNA from Landhi Town. He was on a visit to Shaheed Arif Hussain Model School on Tuesday. Five of these have already started functioning as such. The News

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Student groups disrupt academic activities at Karachi University
Karachi: The continued use of loudspeakers on campus by one student group after another in their respective functions has been affecting academic activities at Karachi University (KU) for many weeks.

While classes have been disrupted almost on a daily basis, no remedial action has been taken by the administration so far to ensure that the students follow the disciplinary regulations which they are bound to implement under the university code, which also prescribes punishments and penalties for different violations.

A number of Karachi University (KU) teachers expressed concern over the extensive use of loudspeakers by student groups, which, they said, had made the functioning of regular classes very difficult.

"The use of loudspeakers started when students belonging to the Islami Jamiat Talba organised a book fair in February which lasted for three to four days. Later, the All Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation (APMSO) held a 10-day cricket tournament and played party songs throughout the event. And now, the Peoples' Students Federation has been using the public address system for its football tournament for over a week," said a teacher.

Though the use of loudspeakers during class sessions is a nuisance for all and sundry, academic activities in departments which are in close proximity to the playground had been more affected, he said.

Student groups forcibly shut transport on the campus on Tuesday afternoon and thousands of students had to walk all the way from their departments and institutes to the university gate.

"The transport closure is a tactic to force students to participate in the event. All student groups are in the habit of causing maximum inconvenience to teachers and students whenever they feel like it and the administration seems helpless," said Dr Nasiruddin Khan of the chemistry department.The teachers were also very critical of the use of university walls and premises for promoting party slogans and said that the administration should at least remove banners after the conclusion of an event, if it could not educate and convince student groups to follow university ethics.

According to these teachers, the university code has clear guidelines for students on disciplinary matters, but the administration appears to have no teeth to enforce them.Apart from having a disciplinary committee and a student adviser to look into issues pertaining to maintaining smooth functioning of academic activities, students signed an affidavit to not indulge in political activities on the campus at the time of their admissions, they said.

Voicing concern over the increasing activities of student groups, Professor Farhat Hussain of the library science department said that the academic environment had deteriorated to such an extent that now teachers were forced to vacate their rooms on any class boycott day.

"This is becoming the norm. The administration has no guts to question the activities of any student group, so they play it safe and keep quiet. There is a ban on the use of loudspeakers, but they are now extensively used by all parties in competition with each other."

Giving suggestions on how to end unruliness on the campus, Dr Nasiruddin Khan suggested that the administration needed to make the admission process fool-proof and also needed to address the genuine complaints of students.

"At the moment, students are having a number of academic problems. If these complaints are attended to on time, genuine students would not have to depend on groups backed by political parties to solve their problems," he said.

Physiotherapy exams at Karachi University
Karachi: The examinations department of the Karachi University on Tuesday announced BS (physiotherapy) four-year (new course) batch 2004, annual examinations 2008 results.

As per statistics, around 77 candidates were registered for the examinations and 76 of them appeared in the exams while 75 of them were declared pass with pass percentage of 98.68 per cent.

Universities told to improve research journals' standard
Karachi: The chief of the Higher Education Commission's committee for editors of science and social science journals, Dr Ishrat Hussain, has said that universities in the country should enhance the standard and quality of their research journals.

The former governor of the State Bank and current director of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi, said this while addressing a workshop organised at the Karachi University for edi- tors of research journals recognised by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) on Tuesday.

Dr Hussain stressed that the focus of research should be on national issues while keeping ground realities in mind.

He said that in an agricultural country like Pakistan, for the betterment of the economy, scientists should apprise peasants and farmers of the latest technologies and techniques in the field of agriculture and farming.

The dean of the faculty of arts, Karachi University, Professor (Dr) Shamsuddin, briefed the audience about the problems generally faced by universities.

He said the vice chancellor of the Karachi University, Professor (Dr) Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, was paying due attention towards social sciences. Dawn

Students protest violence against women
Karachi: In protest against the violence and brutality towards women all over Pakistan, students of the Dawood Public School wore black scarves on Tuesday and demonstrated their grief, solidarity and outrage for girls and women who have been bombed out of their schools, flogged and beaten in public and buried alive in the name of Islam in different areas of the country.

More than 1,500 students of pre-primary, primary and secondary sections of the school took part in the demonstration in connection with the flogging of a girl in Swat. They brandished placards and chanted slogans calling for respect and rights for women in Pakistan.

Girls as young as five wore head bands inscribed with slogans such as 'Save our rights' and 'We want justice' walked with the student crowd from the secondary section to the pre-primary section of the school. "We want peace, today, tomorrow and always," was a message on one placard while another stated: 'Take cognizance of the teachings of Islam!'

A group from Class VI said that they were very much aware of the gender inequality in the country and that violence against women had become a routine in the society. A day earlier, the students were given a brief lecture on violence against women in Pakistan and how citizens' protests can play a role in pressuring the government to take action against the non-stop injustice, the school's principal, Mrs Waqar said.

CEO of the school, Sabrina Dawood, acknowledged the contribution of parents.

The event was aimed to raise awareness amongst the children about the injustice with women so that they could become active participants of the society and play an active role if ever any untoward incident occurs in the future, said one of the teachers. The News

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