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Poor performance of colleges | Academic year complexities

Performance of 89 colleges dismal, indicating an overall decline in the standard of education
Karachi, Sep 06, 2008: The number of colleges, both in the public and the private sectors, whose results in the latest Intermediate Science Part-II (pre-engineering, pre-medical and computer) annual examinations, remained below 10 per cent has risen to 89, indicating an overall decline in the standard of education.

Out of these 89 colleges, results of as many as 47 colleges remained zero per cent, sources said, adding that not a single student belonging to 19 Science (pre-medical) colleges, 10 Science (pre-engineering) and 18 General Science (Computer) colleges could clear their Intermediate Science Part-II annual examinations.

According to the statistics obtained from Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi (BIEK), there are number of colleges whose results in both the groups of Science (ie Pre-Medical and Pre-Engineering) either remained less than 10 per cent or even zero per cent.

A number of senior professors were of the view that shortage of teachers, irregular classes and ill-equipped laboratories, etc were some of the major reasons behind the poor performance of many of the city colleges.

They said that it was mandatory for all students to attend at least 75 per cent lectures of each subject, without which they could not take their annual examination. They said that a similar condition should also be imposed on the teachers so as to ensure that they gave their lectures regularly.

The educationists alleged that as far as attendance of students was concerned, most of the colleges usually sent fake attendance record of their students to the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi while there was no such system of sending teachers' attendance record to the directorate of colleges.

Stressing the need for a mass scale reshuffle of teachers in government colleges, they said that the directorate-general of colleges in Sindh, while transferring and posting teachers, should ensure a combination of senior and junior teachers so as to avoid concentration of all junior teachers in one college. Admitting that most of the government colleges are facing a shortage of teachers, especially of Urdu, English and Pakistan Studies, a former director of colleges, Prof Haroon Rashid, said that poor results produced by such a large number of colleges clearly showed the true picture of science colleges in the metropolis.

Highlighting another problem, he said that although science subjects at the Intermediate level such as Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics should be taught throughout the week there was a general trend of delivering lectures on these subjects on alternate days only.

He also stressed the need for bridging the gap between the syllabus of Intermediate and Matric level science subjects.

A number of teachers also pointed out that at many colleges there was only one chemistry teacher to teach the entire course of chemistry whereas there should be two different chemistry teachers as the subject also involved organic and numerical portion.

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Academic year complexities
Karachi: The academic year of first-year students at Karachi's government colleges has been shortened by no fault of the students. This is in contrast to not only the rest of Pakistan but the world where classes are held, on average, for over 200 days in an academic year. Even if the placement of students in the city's 123 government colleges under the Centralised Admission Policy (CAP) is finalised by September 15, classes will not start before October 6. It takes a number of days after placement lists are issued for colleges to complete the admission process. Given the starting date and public holidays, the academic year is expected to be compressed to 130 days as against the desired 210 days. Why should the Karachi students suffer?

The slow, cumbersome process has been the undoing of the Karachi first-year students. Though the process began on Aug 5, submission of forms was delayed because most of the admission seekers received their matriculation transcripts late and could not submit their applications. How can the selection process begin in a timely manner when the results were not available on time? Furthermore, forms for the placement of candidates in government colleges were in short supply. Many citizens contacted newspaper offices to complain that several designated bank branches in various localities of the city were running short of forms. With the entire system marred by structural weaknesses delays have become inevitable. The slow-paced procedures need to be rectified if students are not to suffer because of inefficiency. As far as the admission procedure is concerned students generally rank their choice institutions in order of preference and submit their transcript to the government for evaluation. What should have been a fairly simple procedure has become the bane of the system. The lesson? If results are not issued promptly and forms are not made available in time, the process cannot be completed in a timely manner. A shortened academic year will leave students struggling to complete coursework, affecting the quality of education in the business hub of Pakistan. With the large number of holidays - scheduled and unscheduled - affecting the span of the academic year, one cannot take this matter lightly. Holidays must now be slashed to salvage the academic year. Dawn

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