Load-shedding, cheating in Class X exams

Matric exams start amid load shedding: Candidates fall victim to mismanagment
Karachi, Mar 21: Secondary School Certificate Part-II (Class X) general group annual examinations 2009 for both regular and private candidates began on Friday amidst complaints of the use of unfair means by candidates at various examination centres.

Students also had to endure at least two hours of load-shedding by the KESC at their centres during the time of their examinations, ie 9am to 12noon.

Complaints pertaining to the delayed issuance of admit cards to a number of private candidates were also received by newspaper offices.

However, officials of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) claimed that all those private candidates who had thronged the board office late Thursday night to get duplicate admit cards had been given their cards immediately after completing the required formalities.

They claimed that since the admit cards of private candidates were sent to their mailing addresses, around 250 of them could not get the cards because they mentioned the wrong address on their examination forms.

Refuting charges of the rampant use of unfair means on the first day of examinations at many centres, the officials said that there was a general trend that candidates usually did not indulge in cheating in papers like Islamiat and Pakistan Studies and, as such, the number of unfair means cases reported on the first day of the examination was quite negligible. Friday's paper was on Islamiat.

In support of their contention, the board's officials said that the BSEK had set up as many as 476 examination centres (264 for boys and 212 for girls) for around 40,000 candidates of the SSC Part-II (Class X) general group examinations, but the number of candidates booked by vigilance teams on charges of using unfair means in the examination was only 17.

"Had there been rampant cheating, the number of those booked on the charges of unfair means would have been much higher than just 17," the official said.

Meanwhile, the BSEK exams coordinator, Khawar Kamal Siddiqui, said that the examinations at all of the 476 centres, set up at both government and private schools, were held smoothly and in a peaceful atmosphere. He said no untoward incident was reported from any of the examination centres.

When asked if the BESK had received any complaints vis--vis late arrival of papers and answer scripts at the examination centres, he replied in the negative, saying that all the 150 group leaders had ensured the availability of answer scripts and papers well in time at all the examination centres.

Electricity woes
Students outside various centres lamented the fact that the government failed to control the ongoing power crisis.

"We had to face two hours of load-shedding out of three hours of examination," said Iftikhar Raees, a student of general group X class who took his first paper at Karachi Secondary School in Nazimabad.

"My concentration was badly disturbed due to continuous sweating and I could not write answers properly," he said.

Other students also complained about load-shedding, saying that they were unable to write their answers properly as they remained agitated throughout the exam.

Science group students complained that the eight to ten hours of daily load-shedding were playing havoc with their study schedules.

"I have to take my exam on March 24 and I am facing severe problems due to on and off load-shedding," said Ali Qamar, a student.

Many areas in Karachi have started experiencing six to eight hours of unannounced load-shedding.

"The provincial education department will request the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation to carry out loadshedding after 12noon in the day to save class X students from facing miseries during the exams," said Provincial Secretary Education, Rizwan Memon when contacted.

"Load-shedding is a national level problem and everyone is compelled to face it, while the education department can't do anything in this regard," said Mr Memon.

However, he agreed with the fact that the timing of the load-shedding could be changed to save students from suffering.

"We had no alternative because this problem could only be solved if generators or a UPS are installed in every school," he said. He added that the price of petrol was also so high that schools could not afford to run generators during exams.

"But the department will surely play a part in requesting the KESC to change their load-shedding timings, especially at the centres where students are taking exams," he added. Dawn

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DAE annual examination 2008 result announced
Karachi: The Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE) here on Friday announced the result of Diploma of Associate Engineer (DAE) Second Year (Morning) Annual Examination 2008. According to statistics, 6,467 candidates appeared in the examination from 52 institutes under the jurisdiction of main office Karachi and of these 4,144 were declared as successful with the pass percentage of 64.07. In all, 1,973 candidates appeared through 19 institutes under the jurisdiction of SBTE Regional Office Sukkur with 1,150 declared successful with a pass percentage of 58.29. Overall, 8,440 candidates appeared and of these 5,294 emerged successful with a pass percentage of 62.72. The News

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KU examinations controller resigns
Karachi: University of Karachi (KU) Controller of Examinations Prof Maqsood Hussain resigned from his post on Friday.

According to sources, Prof Hussain tendered his resignation after facing pressure for tampering in the examinations. "However, he will continue to serve at the university as a professor," the sources said, adding that the controller was also irked by the irregularities in his department and the careless attitude of his subordinates. When contacted, KU Spokesman Kazi Saleem said that he had no information about the resignation, however, it was unusual that no results were released by the KU Examination Department on Friday. Daily Times

Science exhibition held at DHA Degree College
The annual science exhibition of Defence Authority Degree College was held in the college's gymnasium on Friday. DHA Education Director Brig. Iftikhar Arshad Khan was the chief guest on the occasion. Khan distributed prizes and certificates to students who won the competition. The News

Students forced to boycott exam at SU
Hyderabad: A group of students of Sindh University Jamshoro forced the students to boycott their classes and also entered examination blocks and forced some students to boycott the ongoing examinations to protest against the university administration for not declaring holiday on Friday to mark the 66th death anniversary of Sooriah Badshah Pir Pagaro.

Later, they also held a protest demonstration at the zero point.
Meanwhile, Sindh University authorities in a statement said that a group of students belonging to a political party tried to force the students to boycott the ongoing mid-term examinations in various departments.

The university administration said that, according to the notification declaring Friday as public holiday, it was clearly stated that the educational institutions will not be affected, therefore, the university did not postpone the mid-term examinations at the campus and semester of BBA, BCS, BCIT at the affiliated degree colleges.

The spokesman of the university said that in majority of the departments, the examinations were held. University authorities have advised those students, who were forced to boycott the examinations, to contact their departments for further dates of the examination.

Scholar: Director, National Centre of Excellence in Analytical Chemistry, University of Sindh, Professor Dr Mohammad Iqbal Bhangar, left here on Friday for Madina, Saudi Arabia.

He has been invited as plenary speaker in "Taibah International Chemistry Conference-2009" scheduled for March 23 and 25 at Madina, Saudi Arabia.

The event has been organized by Taibah University, where eminent scientists and Nobel laureates will speak on research in chemistry. Dawn

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Lamenting the state of scientific education in Pakistan
Karachi: "After Partition, there were only a handful of institutions that imparted technical and scientific education in the country. These included the University of the Punjab (Lahore) and Agricultural University at Lyallpur (now Faisalabad) in Punjab. On the other hand, the prospects of NED Engineering College and D.J. Science College in Karachi as well as the Islamia College in Peshawar did not look too bright", Azmat Ali Khan, former Professor of Geology at Urdu College said ruefully about the plight of science in the country.

Khan, who has been Director of Publications in Pakistan Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (PCSIR) for a long time, has only two ambitions in life - promotion of science in Pakistan and practical elevation of Urdu as a state Language of Pakistan. "Keeping in mind the need to have such universities, Prime Minister Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan requested the Indian Premier Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru to allow Dr Salimuzzaman Siddiqui to come to Pakistan. Dr Siddiqui was the Director of the Indian Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (ICSIR) in Calcutta till 1942. He came to Delhi when his services were requisitioned by the Government of India for war efforts (The Second World War). Later on, he migrated to Pakistan (1951) and became the Director of the PCSIR at Karachi".

Between 1951 and1966, when Dr Siddiqui was the director, the PCSIR made a great deal of progress because Dr Siddiqui used his scientific knowledge to make new medicines from plants and for the de-sulphurisation of coal. The PCSIR also discovered an insecticide. Thus, it became a renowned scientific organisation. In fact, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip visited the PCSIR in 1958 in acknowledgement of the valuable research being carried out by the PCSIR back then.

Khan talked about Abul Qasim Khan, the Minister of Science during President Ayub Khan's tenure, who realised in 1960 that there was no infrastructure for science in Pakistan and asked PCSIR to promote it as much as possible. Thus, three science journals one each in Bengali, English and Urdu - were launched so that people could develop an interest in it. Azim Qidwai was selected to be the editor of the English journal while Khan, a science graduate from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), took the charge of Urdu journal. These journals were in addition to the PCSIR journal and the technology journal (the latter was also a PCSIR-effort). The then government, between 1958 and1968, provided all kinds of assistance and, thus, science and technology was promoted a great deal.

The fortunes of science took a plunge, said Dr Muhammad Qaiser, a botanist and the present Urdu University of Arts, Science & Technology (FUUAST) Vice Chancellor. "When Ministry of Science Secretary Manzoor Shaikh (1974-75) ceased publication of the Urdu Science journal (Karwan-e-Science) along with others, the quality of the Pakistan Journal of PCSIR, a journal of repute, began to decline, owing to the negligence of Ministry of Science and PCSIR. In 1958, the Journal was a quarterly publication. It became bi-monthly in 1970 and monthly from 1984-89 when Azmat Ali Khan was the Director of PCSIR's Scientific Information Division".

The PCSIR Journal had become so popular in the eighties that the Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and other research organisations regularly sent their research papers to the journal. The standard has gone down since then and now, the journal mostly consists of substandard articles from developing countries.

Sadly, it has once again become a bi-monthly publication, but the current PCSIR does not seem to care. In fact, it is surprising to note that the PCSIR is celebrating its silver jubilee with much fanfare while progress has atrophied. The News

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