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A-Level students admissions | Curriculum change demanded

'A-Level students be allowed admission on open merit'
Lahore, May 05, 2008: Following the admission of A-Level students on open merit at Lahore University of Management Science's newly-launched School of Science and Engineering (SSE), experts and A-Level students have urged Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) and the authorities concerned to allow students to take admission in various medical and engineering schools on an open merit basis.

The SSE has admitted both the A-Level students and those of the Faculty of Science (FSc) on open merit in their first batch of graduate classes in the fields of engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer sciences.

SSE Project Director Khurram Khan Afridi said that around 200 students would be given admission in the school after entry tests on an equal basis. "We have taken common topics from the A-Level and FSc books and prepared the tests to provide all students with an equal opportunity to join the school," he said.

Afridi said that the admission test followed a straightforward format, and that any institute could adopt the same, in the interests of students. He said that the kind of educational certificates the students had earned did not matter, as long as they had better schooling in their background. He said that students should be given equal grounds to get scientific education in line with international standards, so that they could play their due roles for the development of the country. He said that the admission test mainly consisted of multiple-choice questions, followed by interviews, and that any institute could easily adopt the same criteria.

Impact is decisive: Edexcel London Examinations Regional Development Manger Suhail Zafar said that any institute could take A-Level students on open merit, but the formula adopted by the IBCC resulted in a comparatively less number of admissions of foreign boards' students in local institutes. "Every country has its own education policy, and we make such policies for the betterment of the students and the country as whole. It is our right to make the policies of our choice, but we should also keep the impact of such policies in mind. I do not think that there would be anything wrong if we go on competing with foreign boards by adopting the open merit policy, as it would only increase our standard of education," Suhail explained. He also pointed out that local institutions of international repute like Agha Khan University and Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute were admitting students on open merit.

A-Level student Zainab said that she wanted to do her MBBS after completing her course. "It is a more difficult for A-Level students to join local medical schools as compared to FSc students, because of the tougher rules for A-Level students," she said.

She said that government should adopt an open merit policy, because it would benefit the students studying from foreign boards, and force the local boards to meet international standards.

Students, teachers demand changes to curriculum
Lahore: Students and teachers in colleges and universities of the city are demanding the new government change the curriculum and include subjects of environment, health, human rights and gender study in it.

They said that the government should also establish a culture of practical research at higher education levels. Subjects on certain local issues and industrial education should also be included in study courses, they added.

Human Rights: Wajeeha, a student of Kinnaird College (KC), said on Sunday that there were so many issues in the country that could be included in studies. Environment, health, human rights and gender study should be a part of the curriculum, she added.

Maham, another KC student, said that arts education should be upgraded and problems faced by the students of social sciences should be addressed.

Umer Khan, a student of the Foreman Christian College University, said that due to 'wrong' educational policies, the curriculum was producing extremists and fundamentalists. He said that the government should include religious harmony in the curriculum and frame a uniform education policy, adding that the curriculum should also include special subjects for minorities.

Practical research: Adeel Anjum, a student of Government College University, said that the government and the Higher Education Commission should focus on practical research, so students could gain practical experience in their relevant fields by the end of their studies.

Uniform policy: Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association President Dr Mumtaz Ahmed Salik said that the curriculum should be developed keeping in view the global educational requirements. He also called for a uniform education policy.

Khansa Nazim, a faculty member of the Lahore College for Women University, said that the curriculum at university level was good, but there was a need to improve the curriculum at primary level.

She said that although the literacy rate was increasing, and the percentage of female students was particularly satisfactory, parents in villages were reluctant to send girls to school after primary and middle classes.

Punjab University Islamic Education Department Chairman Dr Maher Saeed Akhtar praised the government for its efforts to review the curriculum and adopt a uniform policy on education. He said that Federal Education Minister Ahsan Iqbal had said that the government would frame a uniform education policy that would remain in force for ten years and would benefit student of primary to university levels. The minister had also formed the National Council for Curriculum, which would discuss the flaws of the existing curriculum and would review it, he added.

He said that the minister also had convened a meeting of all provincial textbook boards to gather opinion on the revision of the existing curriculum.

Zafarullah becomes new KEMU VC
Lahore: Prof Muhammad Zafarullah Khan became the new King Edward Medical University (KEMU) vice chancellor (VC) on Saturday under a directive issued by the Punjab Health Department.

He completed his MBBS in 1973 from the KEMU, then King Edward Medical College. Zafar was promoted to professor of medicine in 1989 and then became dean of faculty of medicine at the KEMU in 2006. Daily Times
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