Examination system in Pakistan: A serious need for reform
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Miangul Majid Khan |

A University professor wrote an expressive message to his students at the doctorate, master’s, and bachelor’s levels and placed it at the entrance of a university, in South Africa.

And the message is:

“Collapsing any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long-range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students.”

A few days back, as a member vigilance committee, I was authorized to monitor the supervisory staff and examination halls in SSC examinations. What I saw there, was really dismal and shocking. I felt sorry for the future of my nation, destined to serve the country in various capacities. How can such an examination system make a prosperous and technological country where cheating is a common practice? Not few but many actors and factors are responsible for this mess, but among all, the teacher plays a crucial role. The story starts with a teacher and ends with a teacher.

Read more: KP government allocates Rs.139 billion for education

Teacher: the mason of nation

A teacher is called “the mason of nation” because he has the role in building the nation. A teacher makes the mind of students and can make them responsible citizens. These students are to become teachers, doctors, engineers, bureaucrats, and politicians. He can set high moral values in the minds of students.

The teaching community, of which I am also a part, can play a vital role in reshaping our society and making better individuals out of good students. Unfortunately, though, a majority of us pay less heed towards this prophetic profession. We have become more materialistic and greedy. Here is, how we destroy our future generations at various stages of their studies. I will focus on the role of a teacher in examinations at various levels and stages. The story starts with:

Paper-setting

It goes a long way in discouraging the “ratta” system and cheating. It can encourage a student to think and study critically.

In KP, everyone is aware of the recent mathematics paper of class 9th which was full of errors. This shows how a teacher pays less attention to the make-up of a paper. He fails to realize that paper-setting is the soul of all examinations. It goes a long way in discouraging the “ratta” system and cheating. It can encourage a student to think and study critically. But there is a big negligence in this regard on behalf of a teacher and the concerned boards as well. Why do the boards assign such a hectic task to an incompetent teacher?

Read more: Education reforms in KP: Right steps at the right time

As supervisory staff: The superintendent and invigilator

One becomes frustrated and heartbroken to see the halls in examination days. The supervisory staff, being teachers, just collect the cheating material and throw it into a dustbin. It is really disappointing that they remain silent spectators and don’t perform their supervision honestly. One can see the cheating materials scattered all over the hall. They just come to fill their documents and claim a bill. A majority of them either come for big brunches to eat, or to make the politicians happy, who run their private schools.

We need strict inspectors

The inspectors were once signs of terror for the cheating environment.

An inspector is usually a teacher or a board official. He has the duty to supervise the staff and students in the examination hall. The inspectors were once signs of terror for the cheating environment. Sorry to say, I found them coming late or just to fill their days. In their very presence, the students could be seen tearing pages from pocket guides as well as supplying the same to those sitting in the rows.

Paper marking

They do not think for a while that some of the students might have burnt midnight oil and an undue checking might cost them a heavy loss.

The papers are sent to various centers in thousands. But here again, the teacher is assigned the task of checking the papers. He pays scant attention to checking and instead carelessly and randomly put some marks and blots on the papers. In a bird’s eye view, he checks the paper, gives marks in figures that come out of his pen, and throws it to a heap. They check in thousands and claim a bill for themselves. Proper checking and future of the student are not their priority. They do not think for a while that some of the students might have burnt midnight oil and an undue checking might cost him a heavy loss.

Read more: Changing the academic landscape of Pakistan: Genuine educational leaders needed

Unfair means committee, the last encounter

Last but not the least, the student being caught while cheating, has to face a teacher in the UFM committee, consisting of teachers. Mason of the nation is approached here again. He is contacted by various stakeholders, parents, and friends by various offers. He takes the law into his hands and starts to fine the students by a small amount, neglecting the system of punishment and reward. Here again one can see the discrepancy between private and government students: there is every possible support for the private students, while none to speak for the poor government lot.

Excuses of teacher in the examination duty

When I advised a teacher to perform the examination duty honestly, he came up with some ridiculous excuses and explanations: “I cannot correct the system alone, the whole system is corrupt.” If I alone do the duty honestly, students of this hall will be failed and those of the other halls would enjoy cheating and good marks.” The whole country is corrupt, only duty in the exam can’t make a difference.

In short, a teacher is responsible for the majority of the mess as we see and pass through in exams. Well, he forgets to realize that society and nations are made of an individual. If an individual gets corrected and realizes his potentials, he can make societies and nations. And when that individual is a teacher, he can bring revolution. As Iqbal says “Har fard hai millat k muqaddar ka sitara.”

The parents

In addition to the spiritual parents, the true parents are also involved in this destruction of the nation.

In addition to the spiritual parents, the true parents are also involved in this destruction of the nation. Ironically, cheating in the examination has got a legal status in the society. If someone prevents the children from cheating, he is attacked physically and morally. I, myself, have been the victim of such incidents. In a certain hall, I snatched the cheating material from some children, and in the process, was attacked by the parents, thrice.

Read more: Why Punjab’s Education in a total mess? Can it be fixed?

Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE): the hub of politics

Big chairs in the BISEs are left to the discretion of ministers and high ups. The majority of the private schools and colleges get the duties of their choice due to the patronage of ministers.

Besides teachers and parents, it would be an injustice if I don’t mention the role of BISEs in this regard. The autonomous bodies, the BISEs, are meant to conduct the examinations in a peaceful and fair environment, but they fail to do so. Boards have been heavily politicized and patronized. Big chairs in the BISEs are left to the discretion of ministers and high ups.

A majority of the private schools and colleges get the duties of their choice due to the patronage of ministers. Due to this, an inspector thinks several times before visiting a private institution, as he would be transferred soon if he stops cheating there. From ministers to bureaucrats and even teachers approach the BISEs to take the duty of their choice. Inefficiency, favoritism, and nepotism are the salient features of these institutions.

In this regard, the steps taken by the setting chairman BISE Malakand, Professor Shaukat Ali, are commendable, but it will take time. He is working hard on the papers. He has changed the pattern of paper up to some extent to make it conceptual. A marked improvement has been observed since his arrival.

Read more: Sindh’s Education Budget has more money but is it going anywhere?

Things can be corrected

After performing the duty as member vigilance committee, I submitted some suggestions to the chairman BISE Malakand which are as follows:

1. There should be proper training for teachers to perform examination duties, or if the teaching staff is unwilling, a separate staff may be hired for this purpose.

2. There must be some rewards and punishments for the supervisory staff. The honest staff may be rewarded and the culprits be punished by deducting their remuneration or disqualifying them. The competent and honest supervisory staff may be incentivized, as the current remuneration and TA/DA can’t attract their interest.

3. As cheating is deep rooted in the society, students and parents can harm the honest supervisory staff; therefore, they may be provided with proper security to prevent untoward incidents.

4. Political interference may be discouraged to let the teachers do their duty.

Read more: KP government introduces a Muslim Board to overview legislation, Education

5. As papers are made in such a way to encourage cramming and the use of pocket guides, therefore, Patterns of the papers may be changed. These may be designed in such a way to minimize the role of supervisory staff and to discourage cheating materials.

6. Pocket guides are openly sold in the market despite some laws. These Pocket guides should be banned across the province/country.

7. The teachers and parents should start a campaign to create awareness and hatred in the minds of students against this menace of unfair means.

8. BISEs should be streamlined. Key posts may be filled by a commission or any other credible testing services.

We cannot rectify our education system unless we take political interference and a sense of business-mindedness out of it. The education boards should be allowed to work in a smooth and independent manner, and it should always be kept in mind that the primary focus of this entire system is not to make money but to create a better future for the country.

Majid Khan holds a Ph.D. degree in Zoology. He is currently serving as a lecturer in Government Postgraduate College Timergara, Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Majid Khan holds a Ph.D. degree in Zoology. He is currently serving as a lecturer in Government Postgraduate College Timergara, Dir, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Outstanding artical. Dr.sahb. the voice of my heart that has been expressed by you. اللہ آپ کو نظام کی بہتری کی مزید قوت عطا کریں آمین

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