Equivalence certificates for CIE candidates
Karachi, Oct 15: Confusion still persists with regards to the process of equating marks obtained by O and A level students, particularly those with 'A+' grade, as the Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) has yet to issue a clear decision.
Students following the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) system are still roaming from pillar to post to get their equivalence certificates from the IBCC. CIE had introduced 'A+' grade from this year, while earlier 'A' grade was the highest rating awarded to the students. Meanwhile, the chairmen are offering 90 marks to the students who had secured 'A+' grade in their respective exams while 85 marks are being offered against 'A' grade.
"During the last meeting of IBCC held at Abbottabad, it was expected that a formal decision would be taken on basis of the recommendations of the sub-committee formulated to scrutinise this matter. The sub committee held its meeting in Lahore in the month of August this year but the matter did not have a final outcome," Chairman, Board of Intermediate Karachi (BIEK), Anwar Ahmed Zai told The News.
"The matter aggravated particularly when CIE, through the British Council, decided to award A+ grade to O-level students from the year 2010. Previously, this grade was not in the fold of the schedule of O level examination. The grades earlier were 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', and 'E'," he said.
"The revision of conversion formula for O and A levels was considered in at least four meetings of IBCC held on different occasions but every time the decision was deferred, although in the meeting of Inter-Provincial Education Ministers' Conference, it was already agreed that if the British examination bodies were ready to print actual marks instead of standardised percentage on the certificates, the IBCC and Ministry of Education will consider the conversion of marks and for that purpose, a new schedule of conversion would be devised," he further said.
The Committee constituted for this purpose had already recommended that 'A+' candidates should be equated with 90 marks whereas 'A' grade with 85, 'B' grade as 75, 'C' grade as 65, 'D' as 55 and 'E' grade should be equated to the extent of 45 marks respectively, Zai added.
This formula was tagged with the condition that the British examination bodies through the British Council would be asked to start printing actual marks obtained by each student so that the same is considered for equivalence.
"It was further learnt that the British examination body has agreed to limit the number of students achieving 'A+' grades. Furthermore they have also agreed to discontinue the printing of percentage or percentiles on their certificates after the introduction of 'A+' grade," Zai added.
It is further learnt that this situation is also creating problems for the students who intend to seek admissions to professional colleges.
It is worth noting that the IBCC also could not reach any decision in its last meeting after President Asif Ali Zardari's directives for allowing 10 per cent marks to the scouts who took examination at Intermediate level. These directives were communicated to the IBCC through the Ministry of Education and National Organisation of Pakistan Scouts way back in September 2009. The news
38 commerce colleges show abysmal performance
Karachi: More than 80 per cent students of 38 public and private sector colleges in the city failed in the Higher Secondary Certificate, Commerce group (regular candidates), annual examinations conducted by the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi this year.
The educational institutions whose students' performance in the exams remained abysmal include 27 government colleges, three private colleges, four government higher secondary schools and four private higher secondary schools.
In all, 6,043 students belonging to these 38 colleges appeared in the examinations, but only 794 were declared successful with just two candidates getting Grade A-1 and eight securing Grade A.Moreover, there are 14 educational institutions - 11 government colleges and three private colleges - whose pass percentage in the exams remained less than 10.
Commenting on the poor performance of the colleges in the exams, BIEK chairman Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai said that he would soon be issuing notices to the heads of all those educational institutions whose pass percentage in examinations remained below 20 per cent, asking them to explain the reasons behind such an abysmal performance of their students in the exams.
However, if they failed to give any satisfactory reply, the board would have no option but to either suspend or cancel their affiliation in accordance with the board's rules and regulations, he said.
The BIEK had conducted a similar exercise last year. Most principals of government colleges had attributed the cause of abysmal performance of their institutions to the shortage of teachers and the BIEK chairman took up the issue with the director-general college of Sindh and the latter reportedly took some initiative to overcome the lingering issue of college teachers.
Well-placed sources told Dawn that although the BIEK could cancel the affiliation of all those educational institutions whose pass percentage in the exams remained below 20 per cent for two consecutive years, its chairman who despite suspending the affiliation of some colleges last year had to defer the disaffiliation of such colleges knowing that the students would be the ultimate sufferers in the event of such a drastic action.
The BIEK chief had cautioned them that if the overall pass percentage of their students remained below 20 per cent for two consecutive years, their students would not be allowed to take the exams from their respective institutions. However, such students could submit their exam forms through other institutions whose affiliation with the BIEK remained intact.
According to statistics of the results compiled by the BIEK, female candidates not only clinched second and third positions but their overall pass percentage was also over 16 per cent higher than male students.
Moreover, girls secured maximum number of 81 Grade A-1 as compared to 46 obtained by boys although the number of girls who took the exam was 13,633 as against 19,527 boys.
Similarly, there were 904 girls who secured Grade A as compared to 572 obtained by boys.
However, the grades in which boys outnumbered girls were Grade D and E.
There were in all 4,555 Grad D (2,895 boys and 1,660 girls) and 279 Grade E (223 boys and 56 girls). Dawn