BZU exams | Punjab schools sheds key subjects

BZU prepares itself for timely exams
Multan, Jan 06: The Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) has made strategies to hold future examinations on time and streamline those delayed in the past, according to a statement issued by BZU Controller of Examinations Dr Muhammad Farooq.

The controller said the university had to delay examinations in the past due to inevitable reasons. The office of the vice-chancellor (VC) remained vacant from April 2011 to October 2011 which also affected exam schedule.

"Moreover, some procedural steps such as evaluation from external examiners and no time limit for marking answer books also delayed examinations," he said.

He said that a meeting of deans or chairpersons of departments decided that the exams of MA/MSc, LLB, BTech, textile engineering and other delayed subjects would be amalgamated and exams of supplementary 2012 and annual 2013 would be conducted as combined. The whole system would be streamlined by 2015.

He said that the university had initiated amalgamated BTech examinations in Dec 2013 and the amalgamated LLB examinations would begin on Jan 28 while MA/MSc amalgamated examinations would start in 2014.

He said the timely graduation was the right of students and time limits for every action had been proposed to control delay of examinations.

He said internal paper-setters would be taken from affiliated colleges and external paper-setters from the university for MA/MSc exams. Examiners would have to complete marking in 25 days or they would lose remuneration. Internal examiners would be taken from the college/university side and external evaluation would be done by the university department.

Answer sheets would be collected from centers immediately after the paper and would be handed over to chief secrecy officers (CSOs) for marking fictitious roll numbers on them. CSOs would be given 10 days to do the job.

He said that it was decided to shed redundant optional papers. The meeting decided to review question papers' formation and referred the issue to the board of studies of departments. Question papers must reach the confidential press one month prior to examination or the controller will be authorised to get the paper set from any teacher with the approval of the VC.

The tabulation branch of the office of controller will declare results in 15 days after receipt of award lists from the examiners; in case of delay in results, responsibility would be fixed on the assistant controller concerned.

Under the new arrangements, the controller of examinations would be held responsible in case of delay in examinations.

Thousands of university's students are facing problems due to the failure of the university to conduct examinations of various degrees at their scheduled time.

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UAF signs MoU with UK hospital
Faisalabad: The UK-based Brooke Hospital for Animals and the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, have inked a memorandum of understanding to expedite services in animal treatment, especially mobile animal treatment units and capacity-building programmes.

The MoU was signed at the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the UAF by its Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Iqrar Ahmad and Brooke Pakistan Chief Executive Muhammad Farooq Malik.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Iqrar Ahmad said the university organised a Horse and Cattle Show every year to promote the best breeds.

He said that although Pakistan was one of the largest milk producing countries, it was obtaining only 2,500 litre milk from each animal per annum compared to minimum 18,000 litre milk in the developed nations.

Farooq Malik said after launching a single mobile clinic in Peshawar in 1991, the Brooke Pakistan had expanded to deliver veterinary and welfare services to working equines through a network of mobile teams and static clinics in 26 districts. Faculty of Veterinary Sciences Dean Prof Dr Laeeq Akbar Lodhi also spoke.

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School exam system sheds key subjects
Lahore: The Punjab government has abruptly discarded social studies as well as computer subjects from Punjab Examination Commission's centralised examinations for all public and private schools' students across the province. More than 2.5 million students appear for the examination every year.

The Punjab government has not formally notified the change but the PEC has issued primary and middle standard examinations' date sheet that does not include social studies, computer/Arabic as well as other optional subjects. The class-V and VIII examinations will begin on Feb 6 and 11, respectively, carrying total 500 marks each instead of the previous years when they had a total 600 and 800 marks, respectively.

The government has deleted social studies from class-V examinations, while social studies, computer science or Arabic and an optional subject from eight given subjects have been removed from class-VIII examinations.

The centralised primary and middle standard examinations are also "scholarship examinations" and the reduction in the number of subjects may create problems; the students will be appearing for 500 marks examinations that may not come at par with other provinces' scholarship examinations as well as national scheme of studies.

The Punjab government, however, has come up with a new theory that the centralised examination is a burden on students. The reduction in subjects is justified with a reference to the trends world over.

Educationists suspect the PEC may be lacking in the capacity to handle such a large centralised examination, and this could have caused reduction in the subjects.

The government, which plans to award scholarships to students, says the deleted subjects will now be assessed internally by schools.

Officials in the school education department said that the Punjab government had earlier created the PEC with pomp and show with a claim that it would assess all students in public as well as private sector schools across Punjab because internal examinations were not able to assess students properly.

Officials said the decision of discarding social studies from the centralised examination was in contrast with Punjab government's own policy, wherein this subject was being promoted and divided into two subjects history and geography.

Similarly, they say, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif is continuously stressing on imparting computer education to students and has even created computer labs in middle and high schools in the province.

"This new policy is in sharp contrast to the chief minister's computer education policy," an official observed.

Another official said the result of this centralised examination was also being used to assess teachers' performance in public schools and were being awarded or punished.

"The new decision has sent a wave of relief among teachers (and even among headmasters) as their "burden" too has been released. They will automatically be focusing less on deleted subjects for not being answerable," a senior schoolteacher apprehended.

PEC Chief Executive Officer Nasir Iqbal Malik said the government had taken the decision to reduce examination stress on young students. He said the commission was planning to hold centralised examinations in a fashion that students' learning outcomes be assessed and policy-makers be informed about students' weaknesses for curriculum development as well as improving pedagogy for better teaching practices.

Mr Malik said the PEC wanted to build an internal assessment system without burdening the students. He dispelled the impression that the decision had been made to work within the limited resources available to the commission and added: "the less number of papers will reduce cost proportionately".

The PEC CEO said the decision of reducing number of papers had been taken by the chief minister on the recommendations of PEC's board of governors and the School Education Department.

"The government has not notified the decision and the PEC has just issued the date sheet that offers five papers each at primary and middle standard levels," he said.

Punjab School Education Department Secretary Abdul Jabbar Shaheen said the PEC did not have the capacity to hold such a large centralised examination as there were always complaints of leakage of question papers. He said nowhere in the world such a large examination was being conducted.

"I was in China recently and educationists there were laughing at the holding of such a large examination at the level of class-V and VIII. The Chinese education system does not hold any formal examination till matriculation level except internal assessments," Mr Shaheen explained.

He said the Punjab government had decided to lessen the number of papers to make the examination manageable. However, he said, the teachers would be required to teach their students all subjects with full focus and hold internal examination of subjects deleted from the PEC examinations.

Mr Shaheen said the government had decided to award scholarship to students on the basis of percentage of marks obtained in five papers science, Urdu, Islamiyat and Nazra Quran, English and mathematics.

The secretary said the examinations at a reduced scale would not affect teachers' performance assessment exercise as headmasters would be required to convey the results of internally held examinations to the School Education Department.

Society for Advancement of Education (SAHE) Executive Director Abbas Rashid, who has conducted PEC examinations' assessment, stressed the government should not go for abrupt and arbitrary decisions and instead go through a detailed consultative process before taking any policy decision.

Regretting that existing textbooks are not able to produce good citizens, he expressed his surprise that the government had decided to do away with the social studies in a centralised examination instead of improving the textbooks. Dawn

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UVAS convocation
Lahore: The 5th convocation of the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences (UVAS) was held on Monday. Chancellor/Governor Punjab Muhammad Sarwar presided over the convocation. Degrees were conferred upon 752 graduates, of which 245 DVM, 176 BS (Hons), 89 Pharm-D, eight MBA, four MSc, 200 MPhil and 30 PhDs whereas 33 position winning graduates were awarded medals on the occasion. Addressing the convocation, Governor Punjab Chuadhry Sarwar advised the graduating students to value the time, be punctual and grow with confidence to face the challenges of practical life successfully. He said that sustainable growth depended on quality education, skills, research and training. Daily times

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PBTE: part-timers and flawed secrecy
Lahore: The leakage of question-papers in the Punjab Board of Technical Education has exposed the secrecy system as well as questioned the ad hoc running of the board with no official holding permanent position of top three posts chairman, secretary and controller of examinations.

The mathematics question-papers for the Diploma of Associate Engineer (DAE) were leaked out last Sunday and the board's ad hoc management sprang into action only after the leaked-out question-papers were sent to media.

This reporter also received the question-paper on last Sunday which was produced to candidates in ditto copy at examination centres across Punjab at 1.30pm on last Monday. Though the board officials, according to sources, were receiving information about the breaking of secrecy in various papers but no action was being taken.

The publication of news about leakage resulted in constitution of an inquiry committee that conducted initial probe within a day and the board's chairman, who is Chief Operating Officer of Tevta, Jawad Ahmad Qureshi cancelled the two leaked-out papers, suspended four employees and ordered transfer of five employees for being held responsible for the leakage of papers. As usual no senior official including the acting controller of examinations was held guilty.

Those held guilty and suspended were: assistant controller of examinations Muhammad Anwar, superintendent Muhammad Afzal, stenographer Muhammad Liaquat and machine man Muhammad Khalid serving at board's press and printing section.

As the rumours were that the question-papers were leaked somewhere in Sahiwal and were spread in South as well as Central Punjab, acting chairman Qureshi says the inquiry committee is still conducting a detailed probe and all those responsible will be apprehended. "I am working on a presumption that there are lots of weaknesses in the PBTE systems.

Everything here at board is paper-based that moves through many hands from far and wide of board's jurisdiction that runs across Punjab and other parts of the country before reaching to the candidates at examination centres," he said.

Besides identifying mala fide moves at all levels, Mr Qureshi says he will plan reduction in paper-based system by the time the board will hold next annual examinations. For the ongoing examination, he says, the board has taken various measures to make the existing system foolproof and hold the remaining exam in a fair and transparent manner.

The board has reportedly changed all the upcoming question-papers as well as modified the papers distribution system at examination centres. The new distribution system is also facing problems and papers at some examination centres have reportedly been started a bit late.

The Tevta COO agreed that the board's duty was of serious nature and the top three posts must be held by regular incumbents and also admitted that he could not give proper time to his additional job and remained cut off from the office of the PBTE chairman since he was busy in the launch of Germany Pakistan Training Initiative (GPATI). "Now, I am giving full time to the PBTE chairman office," he said.

Similarly, a senior instructor at Government College of Technology, Raiwind Road, Muhammad Saleem Khan, is holding the additional charge of controller of examinations, while Tevta's Manager (Operations) Haroon Naseer is holding the post of board secretary. "The board secretary has been asked to give his full time to the PBTE and is not being given any assignment at Tevta," Mr Qureshi said.

PBTE Acting Chairman Mr Qureshi said he had sent a summary to the chief minister for the appointment of a regular chairman at board and added that the summary had been approved. "The chief minister has constituted a committee for the selection of PBTE chairman," he said. Dawn

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