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LAHORE: Punjab is set to revive the old practical system in the upcoming annual examinations of matric and intermediate, scheduled to be held in March and May, respectively.

Under the plan, the existing practical system, introduced in 2014 which was based on the grading method, would end after revival of the marks-based evaluation. Senior officials of all the boards of intermediate and secondary education (BISEs) have been directed by the government to start implementing the old practical system with certain recommendations related to monitoring to ensure transparency.

“The objective of the revival of the old system is to enhance quality of the education that appeared to have deteriorated due to the new grading-based practical system. Under this system, the students were almost not interested in visiting labs, workshops etc. They knew that even if they get lower grades, it wouldn’t fail them in theory. Similarly, the teachers had also lost interest in teaching and evaluating the students’ performance in the practical,” says a senior official of the BISE Lahore.

Talking to Dawn on Sunday, the official said the old practical system would be applicable from the academic session 2015-17.

Do away with grading method after complaints

When asked as to why the new practical system was introduced by dropping the previous one, the official said there were frequent complaints from the students, parents and the top education officials about influencing the teachers/examiners by ‘powerful people’ to get the highest marks for their children. Similarly, he said, there were meagre resources to monitor the examiners/evaluators. The huge number of complaints forced the government to introduce the new grade-based practical system in a bid to follow the international practices to some extent, the official said, adding that internationally, the practices were done on the pattern of grade-based alternative to practical (ATP) system that required the same kind of practical work in preparation as the practical examination paper. But the new system, he continued, couldn’t succeed rather it damaged students’ learning and teachers’ skills due to less work in labs.

“Various surveys showed that the new system couldn’t be prove successful, the government decided to revive the old system that is far better than the existing one. For this purpose, we have introduced various changes to make the previous system the most reliable,” the official claimed.

For example, he continued, the examiner/evaluator would now be responsible to submit practical report along with documents to the bank branch within 24 hours of the exam which they were supposed to submit within seven days previously.

“We have intensified monitoring of the examiners and special teams would visit each centre designated for the practical exam to ensure transparency in marks,” the official claimed.

He said the BISEs had also issued necessary guidelines and under them, the marks of practical would be counted with theory marks obtained by the candidates. The labs would be set up by the board either in the government or private institutions affiliated with the board.

“The practical in each subject will be conducted in other institutions on condition of availability. The BISEs will issue computerised practical schedule and roll number slips of the candidates.

The official said a student failing fail in practical would fail in the theory too. “Model papers for science practice tests have also been uploaded on the websites of all BISEs,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, January 9th, 2017