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Load shedding bringing students' grades down

Frequent power shutdowns bringing grades down
Lahore, June 28, 2008: The hours-long load shedding in the city is giving a tough time to students, especially schoolchildren, during the ongoing examinations.

Students said that massive load shedding in the last few months had adversely affected their studies. They said that they could not study properly in the dim light and under hot and humid weather, as it gave them a headache and had affected their eyesight. Some students also said that their schools/colleges had power backup systems, but the systems were not being used. They said that they had been compelled to take classes and sit in examinations with no electricity in the rooms.

Students enrolled in semester system courses, especially those studying computers and other sciences, said that they had an extra burden of studies owing to the semester system. They said that they had to make presentations and submit term reports and assignments, which was impossible with no electricity in town. Teachers also said that they had problems giving lectures during load shedding.

The students of intermediate, preparing for their practicals, and others for the Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) and Central Superior Services (CSS) examinations have also denounced the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) and the government for not complying with the students' demand of uninterrupted supply of electricity.

A number of institutions in the city did not give summer holidays to their students, as they had switched to the semester systems and were conducting examinations. Institutes like the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU), Government College University (GCU), Forman Christian College University (FCCU), and the Punjab University (PU) are still open and holding exams. Moreover, the students of Kinnaird College, Beaconhouse National University and FAST National University of Computer and Emerging Sciences are still due at the institutes for their assignments and research works.

Zara, a student of BS (Honours) at the LCWU, said that semester examinations were ongoing at different departments of the university, and usually there was no electricity during the examination. "It becomes difficult to sit in the examination rooms due to the heat and poor light, but we cannot do anything about it," she said, adding that there were no power generators at the university to facilitate the student. She said that students were also having trouble preparing for the exams, as they could not frame a proper timetable for studies owing to unplanned and massive load shedding.

Water shortage: Jawaria Ahmed, a PU Hostels boarder, said that students had no choice but prepare for their exams in candlelight during load-shedding hours. "The situation gets worse when the hostels run out of water, as we are not allowed to go out in the nighttime," she said.

Adeel Anjum, a Ravian studying computer sciences, said that students in his department did most of their work on computers, but the administration of the GCU had issued orders to close the computer labs at the time of load shedding. "We have to prepare our assignments and need the Internet for that, but now the computer labs are often closed due to the load shedding and we have to suffer," he said, adding that late submission of assignments was also affecting their grades.

Tayyab Bhatti, preparing for his CSS exams, said that students taking the exams usually went to libraries for preparations, but now it had become difficult for them to focus on their studies due to frequent power failure as they could not sit in libraries for long hours without electricity and cooling system.

Facilitating students: BNU Communication Adviser Arfa Sarfraz said, "Although we have closed the university for summer holidays, students who have not submitted their research work are still coming," she said, adding that every second student had the excuse that he/she could not complete the research work due to load shedding. "I personally believe that students are suffering the most due to the energy crises."

Khansa Nazim, an LCWU faculty member, said, "The administration knows that students are disturbed due to load shedding. We have kept this thing in mind before setting up question papers," she said. She said that teachers had also been suffering for the last many months because they usually used projectors to deliver lectures, which they could not do properly at the time of load shedding.

Another teacher at the university said that the authorities there too had directed the computers and science departments to shut down computer labs and laboratories during load shedding out of fear of getting equipment damaged.

Expectations not high: Asim Khan, a GCU student, said that power failure had always been a problem for students, and that thousands of students in the city had taken their matriculation, intermediate, and bachelor examinations during load-shedding hours. He said that students could not prepare for their exams properly, due to which they were not expecting good results.

He said that the graph of quality education might fall due to energy crises. "Neither the students, nor the teachers are satisfied with their progress," he said.

An official of the Lahore College of Arts and Sciences (LACAS) said that students there had suffered a lot during examination days due to frequent power shutdowns. He said that parents were concerned about the progress of their children. "They have complained that students are unable to concentrate on their studies due to hot and humid weather conditions," he said. He said that the school administration was trying to remove the parents' concern by installing UPS systems and generators at various branches of LACAS. Daily Times

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