Sale of blank answer sheet at KU
Karachi, March 09: While the phenomenon of "leaked papers" seems to be commonplace, blank answer sheets are now being sold at the University of Karachi (KU) by the "cheating mafia," exposing the ongoing examination process for private candidates of the Bachelor of Arts (BA) programmes as purposeless.
Each answer booklet for private candidates is priced at Rs10,000, and these copies can be filled outside examination centres. Answer booklets are distributed through the Store Section, and staff at the department note down serial numbers imprinted on the booklet before handing them to centre superintendents.
In practice, the process of examination has to pass through the offices of private registration and the department of examination, which approve and issue relevant documentation for candidates. Once the documentation is complete, students are then considered eligible to sit in particular exams.
The sale of blank answer sheets makes the examination process redundant, however, as students only have to ensure that their completed answer booklets are received by the cheating mafia, and placed in the pile of final answer sheets according to serial and roll numbers.
Those involved in cheating often deal with centre superintendents, and receive blank answer copies as per their requirements, sources said. Any student availing this "facility" is bound to submit answer booklets to the centre's superintendent once the exam is formally over. These candidates have one hour to deposit their answer booklets, and superintendents adjust these copies according to their serial numbers, sources claimed.
"Matters are settled at the offices of private registration and the department of examination before a candidate appears in the exam," sources revealed, adding that answer booklets are easily accessible to impersonators and "favourites" at legal and illegal examination centres.
Sources said that KU has its own printing press, where the entry of unauthorised persons is strictly banned. Question papers, however, are available outside exam centres, sources claimed. It has been learnt that BA question papers were available well before the start time of the exam.
The phenomenon of impersonation is also rife in these exams, with a minimum of Rs5,000 being charged as the fee for ensuring that someone other than the original candidate takes the exam. Those student wings which are directly involved in impersonation cases charge Rs6,000 per subject, sources said. Furthermore, charges for changing a candidate's picture, and issuing another registration and admit card bearing the original stamp of the assistant controller of the examination start from Rs12,000 and can go up to Rs15, 000, sources claimed.
Agents without any links to the university also operate, but charge Rs8,000 for impersonation, sources maintained. Employees working at the Department of Examination (External), located at the Silver Jubilee Gate, collect between Rs3,000 and Rs4,500 for issuing an 'admit card' to covering students. This facilitates an impostor appearing in the exams in place of the original candidate, sources said.
In cases where either the impersonator or the genuine candidate are afraid of vigilance teams, extra amounts are paid to obtain a 'registration card' bearing the photograph of the candidate who will appear in the exams, sources explained, claiming that those involved in this business receive between Rs5,000 and Rs7, 000 each..
The attendance of such candidates is also marked confidentially, sources said, claiming that the cheating mafia also use the cover of various student wings to pose themselves as blameless.
Sources informed that the phenomenon of abetting cheating is facilitated by the "cheating mafia," which consists of teaching and non-teaching employees of the university, as well as several student wings of political parties.
Interestingly, sources said, teaching and non-teaching employees of the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST), Karachi are also actively involved in this matter.
Further, sources alleged, the in charge of one of the science departments, an assistant professor at the Arts faculty, a central librarian, and a clerk at the Science faculty are the key players of this "business." Sources further claimed that an office assistant, who has also worked in the office of the Dean of Commerce before joining the Dean of Science, is known as the "king" of the cheating mafia, and has more assets compared to anyone at the campus.
Sources narrated that one of the factions of a student wing, allegedly heavily involved in this racket, offers certain guarantees as per their standards. If one of their impersonating candidates is caught by vigilance teams, the student wing assumes the responsibility of paying the fine, sources said.
The fine imposed in such a circumstance amounts to Rs5,000, while the student is merely disqualified from that particular exam. However, no ban on such students is imposed, and they can retake these examinations the next time round, sources explained. Moreover, sources claimed, the impersonator usually goes scot-free, and no punitive action or inquiry is initiated against such practices or the perpetrators – university employees or alien agents – of this phenomenon.
Sources claimed that a house located in the KU Staff Town, Block-D, is being used as an illegal examination centre, where favourites fill in answer sheets, even though they have already appeared at the actual examination centre.
Other "centres" of examination include an apartment situated in County Garden, Metroville-III, Faraz Avenue in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, and other places near KU and Millennium Mall. These illegal centres are being run with the aid of the KU staff, sources alleged.
The new examination complex located in front of the IBA Boys Hostel is said to the "den" of the cheating mafia, sources said, while examination centres at and in proximity of the Department of Health and Physical Education is another haven for the cheating mafia.
These centres have several front men in this business, sources explained, adding that a couple of them play a major role once exams are over. Sources said that while in the recent past, the cheating mafia approached a person in need of help and offered their services, the situation now is that anyone can approach the mafia for support.
Recently, vigilance teams during visits to the examination centres, including those at the the Department of Geology, Old Computer Science Building, Library Information and Sciences as well as a couple of blocks of Sheikh Zayed Islamic Centre, witnessed several cases of impersonations and unfair mean cases.
Till March 8, 2010, different vigilance teams have reported 104 unfair means and 13 impersonation cases. Four mobile phones were also recovered from students, which were being used to answer the question, albeit with help from "friends" outside the examination centres.
KU VC in disbelief
Karachi: The acting vice-chancellor (VC) of the University of Karachi (KU), and the dean of Science, Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, was in disbelief when the newsman sought her version on the matter.
"This is unbelievable! It is shocking. I will call all the people concerned to my office on Tuesday to thoroughly investigate the matter," Kazmi said.
The acting VC assured that serious action would be initiated against those involved in this scandal. However, she stopped short of providing guidelines that the university will follow to address this issue.
KU controller's absence
Karachi: KU staff has revealed that (KU) Controller of Examination Nasir Khan is not attending work these days, and signs office files and paperwork from home.
The newsman subsequently contacted Khan at his residence, the controller said that Deputy Controller General Qamar Alam is dealing with examinations, and he would be the right person to talk to in this regard.
Khan argued that centre superintendents are responsible for occurrences of, if any, candidates using blank answer booklets, as they are "custodians" of these sheets. On the other hand, Alam said that Khan is overall in charge, and thus, abstained from commenting. The news
Boards body to submit proposals on uniform rules
Karachi: Board of Intermediate Education Karachi Chairman Professor Anwar Ahmedzai, who also heads Sindh Boards Committee, has convened a meeting of the committee on March 13 in Hyderabad.
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan had constituted the committee to seek its recommendations for evolving uniform rules and regulations of all educational boards in the province.
Ahmedzai heads the committee, while Sukkur Board Chairman Dr Mahboob Shaikh, and Sindh Board of Technical Education Chairman Professor Saeed Siddiqi, are its members.
According to a press release, the committee would have to submit its recommendations in this regard. It would review existing rules and regulations of all the boards, and make recommendations to bring uniformity.
The committee would also prepare uniform timetable for annual examinations of first and second years of intermediate, which would start from April 27.
All the nazims (controller examinations) have also been called at the meeting. Their recommendations would be tabled before the committee on the same day for approval, the press release said. Daily times
Ex-NED VC's pension
Karachi: A former vice chancellor of NED University of Engineering and Technology has been waiting to get his pension for the last 16 years because of bureaucratic hiccups and alleged malice.
Professor Dr Mohammad Munir Hasan, who now teaches at Bahria University, Karachi, said he had 45 years of experience in teaching, research and administration, including experience in colour service in the corps of EME (Army).
Besides having first-class educational achievements in his career, he is a pioneer of biomedical engineering education and research in Pakistan. He did his BSc Engg (Electrical) from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, in 1964; MSc from University of Nottingham, in 1975 UK; and PhD from University of Sheffield, UK, in 1981.
In an appeal addressed to Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry maintained that he retired in 1994 as the vice chancellor of the NED University but is still waiting for his pension. "The sitting vice chancellor and the registrar have made the date of my retirement an issue," he said.
"To decide the date of my retirement, the syndicate of the university in its 100th meeting held on May 8, and May 22, 1996, passed a resolution No. SYN-100.4, which reads as follows: 'Resolved that a committee comprising the following members of the syndicate be constituted to look into the matter and compile its recommendations for placing before the syndicate for its consideration and decision: 1) Mr. Justice Amanullah Abbasi Convenor; Maulana Amjad Thanvi-Member; Mehtab Akbar Rashidi-Member; Engr. Abdul AzimKhan-Member; and Syed Muzaffar Ali Shah-Member.
It was also decided that the committee may invite any present or previous member of the syndicate or any other officer of the University for establishing the facts.' Although the matter of deciding the date of my retirement could have easily been resolved, but in order to harm me financially, the meeting has never been called during the last 16 years, on one pretext or the other," the letter reads.
The letter further states: "On March 15, 2007, I wrote to the Governor of Sindh, who is also the chancellor of the university, and requested him to kindly look into this matter and pass orders to the NED University for the payment of my pension. The registrar of NED University replied vide letter No. Dr (Estb)/ (PF-192)/ Vol-V/8611, dated August 15, 2007, which was full of misstatements, unrelated and distorted stories."
"On August 25, 2007, I sent para-wise comments on the response of the registrar of NED University to the Governor of Sindh. Then I received another letter from the NED University No. DR(Estb) /(PF-192) Vol-V/11789, dated November 21, 2007, in which NED University offered me to accept its personal decision about the date of my retirement."
"In my reply to NED University dated November 27, 2007, I made it clear to the registrar that after the decision of the syndicate vide Resolution No. Syn-100.4, all actions, including sending letters to me are in violation of this resolution and illegal and ultra vires."
"I wrote to the registrar of NED University that under the circumstances, I could not accept his personal decision against the decision of the syndicate and that the only course of action open to him was to take my case back to the syndicate with reference to resolution No. Syn. 100.4 and admit fault in not calling the syndicate's committee meeting for such a long time.
"On May 27, 2008 I wrote to the members of the syndicate of the university in detail with reference to my case, requesting all of them to raise this issue in the next meeting of the syndicate. However, not a single member dared to ask the vice chancellor of his illegal action in deciding the date of my retirement."
"The above facts clearly show how the sitting vice chancellor of NED University has been behaving illegally. He is biased against me because once in 1998, I had informed the worthy vice chancellor about his illegal actions/decisions in running day to day affairs of NED University, Karachi."
"In revenge, it was the deliberate attempt of vice chancellor not to call the meeting of the syndicate's committee so that he could personally deal with my case, distort and twist the facts in deciding the case of my pension and harm me intentionally. He thinks that nobody is in a position to take any notice of his illegal actions.
"I pray to the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, to kindly take suo moto notice and pass orders to the concerned authorities to release the entire amount of my pension, after hearing my legitimate grievances and without any further delay of time. The news"
Sindh education standard
Larkana: Sindh Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haq has admitted that the province is lagging behind Punjab and the NWFP in education.
Sindh needed hectic efforts to meet the standard of education, he said.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark resumption of B.Ed and M.Ed classes at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto College of Education here on Monday, he said teachers in this area had suffered a lot due to non-availability of teachers' training facilities. He said that soon under the supervision of Shah Abdul Latif University diploma classes for training would be started.
He said the 30-year ban on recruitment had created a shortage of teachers and referred to recent appointment of 6,000 teachers which he claimed were recruited on merit.
He said the government would soon recruit 13,000 new teachers to bridge the gap.
He regretted that the performance of government schools was not up to the mark and expressed his determination to re-establish their lost reputation.
Under the president's directives, teachers' scales would be revived and salaries enhanced in the upcoming education policy, the minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, Sindh Law Minister Ayaz Soomro accused the previous government of closing the College of Education of Larkana only to victimise local people.
He announced up-grading Government Little Folk's Middle School to high school.
Ms Shabroz Sandelo, principal of the college, welcoming the guests said that college imparted education to 4,000 girls and informed the ministers about the lack of facilities.
Mrs Shahnaz Pir Mazharulhaq handed over appointment orders of junior school teacher to 10 girls.
Earlier, the ministers went round the exhibition and appreciated efforts of students. Dawn
3D animated series
Karachi: The premiere of a 3D educative animated cartoon series was held at the SMB Fatima Jinnah School by the Zindagi Trust and the Bookgroup on Monday.
The animated series is aimed at entertaining children and at the same time teaching them good eating habits. The dramatic story telling, compelling characters with celebrity voiceovers and exciting animation in each of the three episodes, makes it fun to watch and gets the message delivered accordingly.
The premiere was attended by the celebrity cast members who had lent their voices to the animated series. Khaled Anam, Sania Saeed, Arjumand Rahim, Faisal Qureshi, Adeel Hashmi along with the founder of the Zindagi Trust, Shehzad Roy, attended the event where over 2000 students of the school were present.
This is the first time that an all-star cast has given their voices to an animated cartoon series in Pakistan. It is worth noting here that the management of the school was taken over by the Zindagi Trust and the Bookgroup recently.
"The Zindigi Trust and the Bookgroup took over the management of the SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in 2007 and replaced the outdated government textbooks with modern and child-friendly textbooks. We also established many new facilities such as a library, an audio-visual room, an art room, a cafeteria, health room etc.
We created a culture of learning, not just by changing books and government policies, but also by bringing in modules like chess, art, and rowing. Everybody, irrespective of their economic status, is entitled to the same standard of education," said Roy. The news
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