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PESHAWAR: The elementary and secondary education department has decided to conduct centralised examinations for grade five in the government schools to assess the students and teachers properly, according to officials.

They said that centralised examinations for grade five would be conducted from the next annual examinations scheduled to be commenced in March. Mostly, the papers would consist of multiple choice questions (MCQs) and a little room would be spared for the long question, they said.

Officials said that initially four subjects -- English, Urdu, mathematic and general science -- were selected by the education department for the centralised examinations. The Provincial Education Assessment Centre (PEACE), established at the Directorate of Curricula and Teachers Education would set question papers for the students across the province, they said.

Officials said that the papers, attempted by the fifth graders of a district under the centralised examinations, would be checked by the teachers of the neighbouring district for the first time. The results would be sent to PEACE for assessment of the students and their teachers, they added.

Officials say the decision has been taken for proper assessment of students and teachers

“Currently, the headmasters of the middle and high schools are responsible to conduct the examinations for grade five students of the primary schools located near to their schools,” a district education officer told Dawn. He added that the teachers often complained that the evaluation process of the grade five students was not properly carried out.

In the centralised examination system, officials said, the students would be promoted to the next grade purely on merit. In the new examination system, the PEACE would also conduct the assessment of the students learning outcome. The assessment would help to detect problems being faced by the students and teachers and their shortcomings related to their course, they said.

The policymakers could devise proper mechanism for removal of the shortcomings, detected through the assessment, they said.

“With the introduction of the centralised examination system, the teachers and students will concentrate on their respective jobs to keep the ratio of failure minimum and show good performance because the papers will be checked by the teachers of another district that will also follow the assessment of PEACE,” an educationist, working as head of an educational institution, told Dawn.

However, students in every second government primary school in the province were studying in non-conducive environment, said a district education officer. He added that students of different grades in such primary schools shared the classrooms.

“How it is possible for two teachers to teach the students of six classes, from kindergarten to grade five,” he questioned.

The learning environment in the multi-grades classrooms was not according to the education standard, he said.

Of 23,073 primary schools in the province, 10,318 are functioning in the two-room primary schools. “If government is serious in bringing improvement in the education at primary level, every class should be given a teacher and proper room with effective monitoring and supervision,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2014