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O/A level vs matric system debate

Parallel educational system which inherently divides our society
Karachi, Aug 29: The debate over the O/A level system and local examinations bodies seems never ending. As one veteran teacher put it bluntly, "The parallel educational system which inherently divides our society into classes is so grave that one can't help but talk about it to do the least."

So what's the deal? What makes the Cambridge O/A level education system different from other examination boards in the country?

Sir Ahmed, a senior teacher who taught in several of O/A Level schools in the city, says, "Everything. From course outline, to grading approach, to testing methods, they are worlds apart."

But there are people who believe the very question is out of place. The comparison between the Cambridge board and the local boards is divisive and is meant to provoke a conflict that does not exist.

"I think it is a wrong question to begin with," says, Asif Zaman, a seasoned teacher of local board, who runs a private tuition centre in Gulshan.

"The Cambridge board is internationally recognised and practically out of the reach of the salaried class, whereas the local examination bodies, despite the shortcomings, are catering to the whole country, which, given its scale and the usual limitations that entail institutions in a developing country, is at least functioning. So it goes without saying that the quality of education differs widely, but so do the objectives of Cambridge and the local boards. The former is comparatively exclusive and the later is up for the masses."

But there is a general perception that students of O and A levels are better equipped in terms of general knowledge and overall intellectual vigour than their local boards' counterparts, which provide them with a natural edge in higher education.

"It is true that Cambridge students do get an edge, but I think the edge comes not from what is being taught but the method of teaching and their schooling in English language, which is sadly the passport to success in our country. It has been 64 years and we are still unable to get rid of our colonial hangover," says Attaullah Khan, an educationist, who teaches at a private college in Karachi.

"No successful country in the world instructs their children in a foreign language. But here it is considered a symbol of prestige," he adds.

Sir Ahmed, who himself have been a student of the local board, believes that the ills of local examination board stem from mainly two thing: the culture of copying during exams and the predictability of the question paper.

"The thing is we have a rampant culture of cheating that goes pretty much unabated in exam centres along with the notorious tradition of 'five-year' papers - the popular idea that exam questions are more or less churned out of last five years' question papers. This practice simply doesn't encourage candidates to dig deep in the course, which naturally produce students who rely on selective studies and rot learning of a handful of pages from the whole syllabus."

But steps have been taken to change in the overall testing method of local examinations. For instance, in the recent past, the multiple choice questions have been introduced by the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) and plans to print five different short question papers in random orders to curb the copy culture are also in the pipeline.

There are also talks swirling over the establishment of a 'Question Bank' to end the culture of guess papers and five-year papers. The bank would be responsible for producing different questions every year and make sure that same questions are not repeated.

But given the signature bureaucratic inertia of government organisations, one can only wait and hope to see that these changes come to affect immediately and students of the local board get to prepare for their exams with the same rigour and challenge like their counterparts in the Cambridge system. The news

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Pre-admission test of NED University
Karachi: The pre-admission Entry Test for candidates seeking admission in NED University of Engineering and Technology Karachi for Batch 2011-12 will be held at the University's main campus on 8th October, 2011 at 10:00 hours. ppi

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BISC officials accused of selling A-grade
Dadu: A large number of students took out a procession here on Sunday in protest against irregularities in intermediate examination results announced by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Hyderabad, and accused board officials of 'selling' A grade to the highest bidders.

They said they would not accept the results and appealed to the authorities concerned to order an inquiry against board officials who were openly selling marks and grades, depriving hard working and meritorious students of the success they deserved.

College students Farhan, Shiraz Leghari, Shan Jamali and Sagar who led the procession alleged that officials received large amounts of money as bribe for A-1 and A grades. The board was scheduled to announce results on Aug 10 but it deferred it to Aug 28 in order to give time to the officials to collect bribe, alleged Farhan.

He said that 42 students of pre-engineering group in Dadu got A-1 grade after greasing the palm of the officials because their selection in the Mehran University of Engineering, Jamshoro, and Quaid-e-Awam University, Nawabshah, depended on marks.

Sagar claimed that they could prove the allegation that board officials had taken money from wealthy students to increase their grades and marks.

He demanded that answer sheets of the students who had secured A-1 grade by illegal means should be rechecked. If action was not taken against the board officials and the answer sheets were not rechecked they would move the court, he warned.

The secretary of the Hyderabad board, Mr Amir Shafiq, expressed ignorance about the allegations and said the issue did not concern him.

He said that the officer concerned should be approached for information. But he did not name the officer concerned and abruptly disconnected the call.

The chairman of the board did not attend several calls made on his number.

Hyderabad board: The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Hyderabad, on Saturday announced the results of the Higher Secondary Certificate Part-II (Class XII) annual examination 2011 of science general, pre-engineering and pre-medical groups.

Pre-Engineering: Among boys, Muzaffar Hussain secured first position by securing 939 marks and the second position was shared by Mohammad Usama Shaikh and Masroor Ahmed with 937 marks.

The third position went to Faisal Zardari who obtained 925 marks.

Among gilrs, Kanwal topped with 957 marks. The second position went to Rabeea Jaffari with 932 marks followed by Saba Ali who secured 919 marks.

A total of 14,347 students appeared in the examination. Percentage of success was 78.25.

Pre-Medical: Among boys, Muzamil Hyder secured first position with 954 marks. The second and third positions were secured by Mohammad Fahad Shaikh and Syed Bilal Ali who obtained 942 and 938 marks.

Among girls, Sumaiya clinched the first position with 922 marks and Hira Asif second with 919 marks. The third position was shared by Ayesha Ahsan, Fatima Nasir and Amna Raees Kamal with 950 marks.

A total of 16,245 students appeared in the examination and 14,238 were declared successful. The pass percentage was 87.65.

Science General: Among boys, Shahzaib Shaikh secured the first position with 779 marks; Rafail Ahmed second with 752 marks and Abdul Malik got the third with 726 marks.

Among girls, Areeba Irfan Khan clinched the first position with 825 marks followed by Aamira and Fiza Abid with 812 and 802 marks.

A total of 691 students appeared in the examination and 359 were declared successful. The pass percentage was 51.95. Dawn

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BISE position holders term 'copy culture' biggest challenge
Mirpurkhas: Position holders of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Mirpurkhas declared the copy culture as the most crucial challenge which can only be controlled by the action of government departments concerned and that the time has come to root out this menace on a war footing basis without wasting further time, for the sake of countryís future.

This they said on the announcement of their annual results of intermediate pre engineering and medical groups. The top first positions in both the groups are clinched by girl students. Chairman education board Shafique Ahmad Khan announced the intermediate results in boardís auditorium.

The first position in the pre-engineering group was secured by Kainat Wazir of Govt Ibne Rushd Girls College with total 990 marks. The second and third position in this group were clinched by Ahmar Hameed of Cadet College Sanghar with 979 marks and Muhammad Salman Siddiqi of Little Folks Higher Secondary School Mirpurkhas with 978 marks, respectively.

In the pre-medical group, the first position went to Fatima Zainab of Little Folks Higher Secondary School Mirpurkhas with total 1007 marks, while second and third position secured by Junaid Naved of Bright Future Public School Umerkot with 989 marks and Sehar Kainat from Ibne Rushd Govt Girls College Mirpurkhas with total 977 marks, respectively.

Sehr Kainat said that the big menace in our examination system is the copy culture, which has badly affected over all reputation of institutions and as well as caused frustration among brilliant students. "The combine role of parents, teachers and concerned govt departments can help root out cheating culture from our society," she added. The news

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'Handful'of teachers protesting, says SALU
Khairpur: The pro-vice chancellor of the Shah Abdul Latif University, Prof Dr Abdullah Phulpoto, has said that 'a handful' of teachers are protesting against Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Nilofer Shaikh and accusing her of discriminating in allocation of PhD scholarships under the Faculty Development Programme.

Dr Phulpoto said in a press release that scholarships had been awarded under criteria set by the Higehr education Commission (HEC) to faculty members teaching in different departments, including the "weak" departments where a PhD faculty was required.

Of the 27 scholarships the HEC allocated for the university 25 had been awarded to faculty members and the remaining two would be awarded on the basis of recommendations of dean's committee, he said, adding preference would be given to teachers of the departments where there were no or only one PhD and such request would then be moved to the HEC. Dawn

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SSUET holds Naat competition
Karachi: The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology (SSUET) organised Naat competition-2011 for women at Bashir A. Malik Auditorium, a press release issued on Sunday said.

A spokesperson of the SSUET said that the female staff and girls students from different departments of the University participated in the Naat competition with great reverence and enthusiasm to pay tributes to the Holy Prophet (Peace by upon him).

The Chancellor of the SSUET, Engineer Z.A. Nizami, presided over the ceremony. The female students and staff presented beautiful and soul-stirring Naats.

According to the results of Naat contest, Hafsa Faisal, Lecturer in the Electronic Engineering Department, secured the first prize. Umaira Shahid, the students of Electronic Engineering Department, was declared second, while Mah Rukh Khan, Lecturer of English Department got third prize in the competition.

The ceremony of Naat competition concluded with Dua for the progress and prosperity of Muslims by Talat Salma, Lecturer of Islamic Studies.

Engr. Nizami, praised the performance of the female students and staff. He distributed certificates among the winners of the Naat Khwani contest.

While addressing the occasion, he said that the purpose of organising such competitions is to search out talent. He appreciated the efforts of efforts of organising team, judges and the girls and women for making the event memorable and encouraged them to continue the exercise.

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Students pray for peace
Karachi: In view of the worsening law and order situation in the country, Dawood Public School (DPS) on Sunday organised a religious session of Durood, Astaghfar and congregational prayers for the peace, safety and security of the country.

Mehfil-e-Durood and Dua was especially organised in the last Ash'ra of Ramazan. The objective of the Mehfil was to seek divine assistance in easing the prevailing turmoil in the city, DPS spokesperson said.

The Mehfil was ordained in an atmosphere of reverence wherein recitation of the Holy Quran preceded the Naat competition which was held between classes VI to XI. All the students and staff members participated in this holy mehfil and recited Durood and Naats, he further said.

The selection of the Naats was excellent and the delivery was imbued with love, affiliation and devotion to the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The panel of the judges included Nafees Jahan, Shagufta Wajahat and Naheed Jahan. The criteria of the judgement were delivery, confidence, audibility and the beauty of its impact. From amongst the eight participants, Maham Zaidi, Eman Syed and Nabila Waqar were judged the best, he added.

Participants agreed that the way to peace is to unite as a nation, brushing aside the differences and pray for peace and prosperity of Pakistan. Students and staff of DPS recited the holy Quran and in the end a collective Dua was held by all for the peace and prosperity of the country. The news

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