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Science exams for private students

Lahore, March 24, 2008: Allowing or disallowing private students to appear in practicals of matriculation and intermediate (science group) examinations had always been a subject of heated debate among the stakeholders as people have different viewpoint on the issue.

The major stakeholders, especially those private students who want to appear in the practicals argue that if they cannot afford to attend a school, doors of science education should not be shut on them, as education was the right of every individual.

However, those who do not "wish" that the private students appear in the examinations, including officials of the Education department and different education boards, believe exposure to a science laboratory and understanding of experiments and related apparatus was very necessary to acquire science education.

They argue that private students not going to any school cannot perform practical part of the examinations, therefore, such students should not be allowed to appear in the examinations. According to them, firsthand practical knowledge is essential requirement in this regard.

There are people too who are very critical of condition of laboratories in government and private schools. They argue that lack of necessary equipment and poor conditions of science labs and lack of trained instructors in the schools do not serve the required purpose and everything is done just for the sake of formality.

They claim that most of the students of the government as well as private schools learn practically nothing about practical portion of the examinations and were even facilitated by their teachers in this regard in the examinations.

The Punjab Education department had allowed private students to appear in science group matriculation examinations for a number of times, however, no permanent relief is ever provided to the students in this regard by the department.

The Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), comprising boards across the country, has recently rejected a proposal regarding appearance of private candidates in science group examinations.

It is worth mentioning here that UK boards offering qualifications like O and A level in Pakistan don't bar private students from acquiring science education. Private students could appear in science examinations if they do not attend any school.

Afzaal Bhatti, a teacher of O level, said the so-called custodians of country's education system were depriving a large number of poor students from acquiring science education simply because they could not afford to go to schools.

He said instead of evolving a system to accommodate such students, doors of science education have been shut for them, adding it was a great injustice with the entire nation.He said an Alternative to Practical (ATP) system was followed in O and A level qualifications, adding under the system, practical based questions with the help of diagrams were asked from students in the exams.

He said, "Under the system, even private students who do not appear in examination from any school could acquire science education and going to a lab is not mandatory for them."

Academic circles were also very critical of the authorities for depriving those private students who do not go to school from acquiring science education, saying instead of barring such students to appear in the exams, efforts should be made to evolve a system to facilitate such students to opt for science education. The News

Your Comments

"Many students cannot afford to attend regular classes because they have to work to live for themselves and for their families.For your information, now many private coachings are offering practicals on very reasonable cost and it can be opted by private students who cannot study on regular basis."
Name: Muhammad Qasim
City, Country: Karachi, Pakistan

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