Pakistani students pay alot for Cambridge exams

Pakistani students paid Rs720m for Cambridge exams last session
Karachi, June 11: The crumbling state of education in Pakistan benefits the United Kingdom immensely. A poor country like ours contributed 4.8 million to the kingdom's seventh largest export education in one session alone.

In the recent May/June session of this year's O- and A-level exams, rough estimates suggest that Pakistani students paid at least Rs720 million in exam fees to the University of Cambridge International Examinations.

Every year, the British Council organises two sessions of O- and A-level examinations: one starts in May and ends in June while the second runs through November.

About 16,000 students took the O- and A-level exams across Pakistan in the recent session, according to a British Council spokesperson. Around 180,000 entries for subjects were made all over the country.

No break-up of O- and A-level candidates is available with the British Council currently. "We are too busy with the re-exams scheduled [for two subjects] right now," said the spokesperson.

The recent decision of the Cambridge International Examinations to make Pakistani students re-sit the papers of Pakistan Studies and Islamiyat due to a "security breach" has sparked furious reactions from students and their parents alike. While the authority has decided not to charge the students for the re-examination, people are unhappy as a lot of effort goes in studying for the papers.

Astronomical costs
A single O-level paper costs about Rs4,000 while the price of A-level paper can range between Rs7,000 and Rs10,000 depending on the subject: an astronomical cost when compared to the fee of matriculation exams, where students pay not more than Rs1,500 for the five papers they take in one sitting. The Matric level is the equivalent of the O-level exam.

The Board of Intermediate Education Karachi which administers the Intermediate exams equivalent to A-level charges Rs1,100 each year for the six papers students sit for in their first and second years.

Rising popularity
Despite this marked difference in education costs, parents are increasingly choosing the University of Cambridge qualification for their children if they can afford it.

"I want my children to become future leaders in the society. Foreign education helps create leaders and not just cogs in the wheel or labourers who work in factories," says Seema Kamran, who sent both her children to the UK for their university degrees. This type of education is not just reserved for the elite or the upper middle class. Middle class families, who care about quality education for their children, are also turning toward the foreign system.

Shehnaz Kazi, a single mother and a school teacher, claims that education of her only daughter is her biggest monthly expense, which exceeds fuel costs and ration. "Education is an investment. If you give your child quality education, he can survive in the competitive world waiting for him out there."

Education is the UK's seventh largest export industry, which was worth over 14 billion in 2008-09, and is growing at a rate of 4 percent a year, according to a September 2012 publication in a leading journal, Education Investor.

Why in Pakistan?
So why is this expensive education system booming in a poor country like Pakistan? Experts suggest the failure of the state is one of the prime reasons.

Professor Jaffar Ahmed, the chairman of Pakistan Study Centre at Karachi University, claimed that there wouldn't be any question of going to the Cambridge schools had their been any good schools which helped children compete in the job market.

"In such a scenario, the middle class, comprising professional doctors, teachers, engineers, journalists, thinks investing in education of children is better than investing in a bigger car," he said.

Sadia Mahmood, a social scientist and an assistant professor at Karachi University, says: "The failure of our education system has encouraged foreign education boards."

Abbas Hussain, the president of Teachers' Development Centre, says the perception of the local education system is so poor due to corruption at many levels that parents feel they have no other choice but to avail the O- and A-Level option.

He discards the notion that state education system cannot be made better. "It can be done. Provided we spend the money we give to the UK government in our own country."

Your Comments
"Do british student have to pay for cambridge exam if they r living in pakistan?"
Name: Farah
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan

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Private schools defy government orders
Rawalpindi: Most private schools, defying government orders regarding summer vacation starting from June 1, are still open and forcing students to attend their classes in the unbearable high temperature.

Parents urged the concerned authorities to direct all private schools to announce summer vocation, as it's really very difficult for children to attend school due to extremely hot weather.

Parents said that most private schools are still open and their management are forcing students to attend classes just because they could collect maximum fee.

They said that they had requested the school authorities to announce summer vacation but they were not ready to do in the garb of covering the remaining course.

Ali Jawad said that his two sons are studying in a private school and the school is not ready to announce summer vocation. He said that the weather is extremely hot and amidst electricity loadshedding it has become very difficult for children to sit in classrooms.

Chaudhry Rab, another father, said that children are getting ill because it's very difficult for them to bear the heat of June but private schools are not ready to give them summer vacation.

According to him, he had requested the school authorities to announce summer vacation but they were saying that they had not received any government order in this regard.

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PU board approves 26 synopses
Lahore: A meeting of Punjab University Advanced Studies and Research Board on Monday approved 26 synopses, 17 evaluation reports, 13 panels of examiners, 14 cases of extension and five miscellaneous cases. According to a press release here, the meeting was chaired by PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Mujahid Kamran. Prof Dr Muhammad Ehsan Malik, Prof Dr M Zakria Zakar, Prof Dr Muhammad Taqi Zahid Butt, Prof Dr Hafiz Mehmood Akhtar, Controller Examinations Prof Dr Liaquat Ali, Prof Dr Kanwal Amin, acting Registrar Prof Dr Aurangzeb Alamgir attended the meeting.

results: PU has announced the results of M Com (3 1/2 years programme) part-I (first year) second annual examination 2012 and M Com (3 1/2 years programme) part-II (second year) second annual examination 2012.

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Petrol cans underneath seats 93 school vans impounded
Rawalpindi: On the directions of Secretary Transport (Punjab), District Regional Transport Authority (DRTA), Rawalpindi, has impounded 93 school vans having petrol cans under their seats.

The concerned department under a special drive launched after Gujrat tragedy impounded 1,273 public service vehicles (PSV) so far including wagons, buses, Suzuki and taxicabs for having more than two CNG cylinders, loose fitting cylinders and having petrol cans under their seats.

On the other hand, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) authorised 13 CNG stations in Rawalpindi and Islamabad to issue No Objection Certificate (NoC) to the vehicles for six months. The vehicle owners would get NoC after complete checking. Ogra has fixed Rs1,000 checking fee for getting NoC. The news

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KU exams fee schedule
Karachi: Karachi University has announced the fee submission schedule for MA, double MA and improvement of division external examination and MBA banking programme semester examination for fifth batch (morning) 2013.

The forms for MA, double MA and improvement of division external examination can be submitted up to June 14 along with a late fee of Rs300, while the semester examination fee for MBA banking program (morning) can be deposited till June 20, says a KU release. ppi

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31 new universities in rural areas
Islamabad: Since its inception in 2002, the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has set up a total 55 new universities and 31 of them are in rural areas.

This was stated by Dr Javaid R. Laghari, the HEC chairperson, while talking to the vice-chancellors of public sector universities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Swat on Monday.

The universities have been established in Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Kohat, Haripur, Bannu, Mansehra and other rural areas.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said, 116 development projects for the universities, amounting to more than Rs21 billion, had been approved by the HEC.

Dr Laghari said over the request of the HEC, the federal government paid special attention to promotion of education in KP and Balochistan, and funded indigenous and foreign scholarships for the youth of these provinces.

In addition to award of more than 1960 indigenous and 1200 foreign scholarships under faculty development programs, 682 PhD scholarships have been allocated for the faculty members of various higher education institutions of KP, he added.

He said that Pakistans first ever Earthquake Engineering Centre and Archaeological Conservation and Research Laboratory had been established at University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Peshawar and Hazara University Mansehra respectively. Dawn

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