Schools, colleges entrance tests | Students voucher scheme

Schools, colleges entrance tests belie inexpensive education slogan
Islamabad, Jan 15: Roughly all the educational institutions have come to be infected by entrance tests. One may be seeking admission to any university, technical or medical college; one must go through the rigors of an entrance test. The disease of such tests has spread its tentacles very fast, and has reached the portals of schools even.

"There were no such tests in the past, and things went on very smoothly. The persons at the top in the hierarchy of the universities and the colleges in question alone know how these tests came to be introduced," says Mohsin Ali, father of a student.

Amia Haq, mother of a medical student says, "Whatever may be the merits or demerits of these entrance tests, they are surely reprehensible reflection on the assessment of the merit of the students, made by the universities on the basis of a regular examination, entitling the students to seek admission to the next class. In other words, this means that the assessment of the merit of the students was bad, defective and inadequate, and that it necessitated the holding of these entrance tests. What logic!"

"If the assessment was not correct, where is the guarantee that the assessment of the merit of the students, as now made on the basis of these entrance tests, is the only correct one? It may be even worse than the one made on the basis of a regular examination. This will obviously necessitate yet another entrance test and so on," commented Abdul Kareem, father of a daughter, who had come to get his daughter admitted in an engineering college.

"Perhaps these educational institutions are starved of funds; therefore, entrance tests are certainly a fine source of income to them.

These tests fill up their coffers and boost their financial position and economy. Nevertheless, exorbitant as the entrance tests fee is, these tests are a great burden on the parents of the students, who have to pay not only the entrance tests fee but also arrange for transport, yearly fee and other charges for their kids which costs them a hell of an amount," complained Fareeda Malik, mother of a student.

"Another point that needs to be closely considered is that whereas the admissions, made on the basis of the marks obtained by students in an examination, held by educational institutes, almost totally eliminate all chances of favouritism, it is very difficult to make such an assertion vis-a-vis the admissions made on the basis of the merit of the students, determined by an entrance test," says Fatima Batool, a student's mother.

"I have seen the children of high-ups being refused admission on account of the lesser marks obtained by them in an examination but the chances of an admission being manoeuvred in the case of an entrance test cannot altogether be ruled out. Entrance tests can as such be termed as a means to an end which is anything but noble. They have thus an accusing finger pointed at them," says Rehmat Ullah, himself a professor.

"Another snag that mars these tests is that no well-defined syllabus is prescribed for these tests. General ability, awareness, and aptitude are apparently very vague terms. It is obviously awfully difficult for the students to cover the whole gamut of these terms. Thus, they find themselves terribly handicapped in preparing for these tests and are always at the mercy of the paper-setter," opines Sokhaina Sheikh, a parent.

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Entry test rescheduled
Islamabad: Keeping in view difficulties of transportation and communication which may be confronted by the students and their parents on January 14, 2013, the International Islamic University has decided that all the admission tests scheduled for January 13, 14 and 15, 2013, has been re-scheduled by the respective HODs of the faculties on the next available dates. The new schedule is available at the university website: The news

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Voucher scheme for students raises controversy
Islamabad: On the face of it Education Voucher Scheme (EVS) introduced by Punjab Education Foundation (PEF), April, 2010, through which Rs400 monthly will be handed out to under-privileged students of private schools, appears to be commendable.

But on investigation, many policy flaws come to the fore. First, the policy is not all inconclusive, only 11 schools were selected. Second, vouchers were not distributed evenly amongst schools.

According to an officer of PEF, EVS was started in April, 2010, in Rawalpindi, and 3,800 students of 11 private schools have been getting Rs400 monthly and books, under the programme.

"Students and their parents were called for interviews and after confirming that students were under privileged, vouchers were issued to students," said PEF officer.

Mohammad Ayub, representative of a private school said that the deserving schools and students were ignored during a survey regarding evaluation of deserving students.

"There are schools which got EVS for all their branches, while many deserving schools and their students were ignored," claimed Mr Ayub.

"My school is in Dhoke Hassu and around 100 students left my school because they got assurance that they will get EVS from a school which was approved for the scheme. It has become impossible for me to run my school anymore," added Ayub.

Dr Sultan Alam, owner of a school said that his school was ignored just because he did not have official links with PEF.

"I contacted almost every officer from Rawalpindi to Lahore but no one bothered to listen to me. Now I have no choice but to start protest along with owners of other schools, who have been deprived," he said.

Regional Director PEF, Naveed Abbas said that students of 11 schools were selected for EVS, purely on merit and they have been getting Rs400 per month and books.

"Some owners of private schools, who could not be selected for the EVS programme, have been complaining against it."

Referring to Dr Sultan Alam, he said: "When he came to know that his school will not be selected for the scheme, he started
protesting against it," said director PEF.

"We have a proper selection process and after that we finalise a student for free and quality education. There were some schools who demanded cash amount rather than vouchers, so they were also dropped from scheme," added director PEF. Dawn

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Honour for Fazaia Inter College
Islamabad: The Fazaia Inter College, E-9, Islamabad, has won the singular honour of being titled as the 'Asia Super School' by the Royal Commonwealth Society of England, which is a true recognition of the meritorious achievements of its staff and students in excelling as an educational institution.

The Royal Commonwealth Society had launched a history project covering the 60 years span from 1952 to 2012, in which the students of various institutions had to upload information about various aspects of life, education and history about certain specified dates. Fazaia students under the guidance of their teachers won a five star status in most of their attempts and also scored maximum entries, on the basis of which they were adjudged as the best in Asia and were awarded the title of 'Asia Super School'.

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Students of RIS shine in business initiative
Islamabad: Students from Roots College International took part in 'LUMS Business Initiative 2013 competition' aimed to challenge its participants to think, act and make decisions like an entrepreneur.

The team consisted of students from the B.Sc. Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). RIS students proved themselves well in the LUMS Business initiatives and raised their ranking in top 5. The participants were Ruhaan Ahmed, Ramsha Suleha, Madiha Khalid, Ehasan Sheikh and Noor Bakali.

RIS has provided a platform for their students to work in close collaboration with recognised corporate and social sector in Pakistan and also globally. CEO Walid Mushtaq said LBI'13 has provided our brilliant students an opportunity for their career growth and personality development for their bright future base. The news

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