PESHAWAR: A large number of students, most of them accompanied by their parents, from different parts of the province had to spend sleepless night in the chilly weather to reach Peshawar for appearing in a test, held here on Sunday by the government to award scholarships to them for several prominent public schools.
The students had to report to the lone examination centre, set up in the government higher secondary school City No.1 Peshawar, to take the test.
Majority of students had to either spend the night inside vehicles on the way to their destination in Peshawar or in local hotels, they told Dawn.
Police baton charge parents of students outside examination centre
Notwithstanding the miseries they had to face to reach the examination centre, police also resorted to baton-charge the fathers, who had gathered outside the examination centre to receive their children at the end of the test. Owing to huge rush of people, it was hard for them to get their children.
Sources said that the test was conducted by Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and its result would be declared within 24 hours. They said that a total of 4,441 students appeared in the test including 696 girls.
The parents had paid Rs400 as examination fee for each student. The students were asked to reach the examination centre at 9am on Sunday.
“We travelled from Shangla in a Suzuki pickup during the night and reached the examination centre at 7am,” said Hakimullah, the father of a student.
Knowing about the chilly weather, he had brought blankets to keep himself and his son, a 6th grader, warm. “How my son will solve the question paper after travelling for the entire night,” he questioned.
Waiting outside the examination centre in his vehicle, a visibly tired Hakimullah said that his son had not slept for the entire night.
Hussain Ali, the father of another student, who had come from Hangu, demanded of the government to conduct such tests at divisional level for the convenience of the students and their parents.
“We have hired two coaches on rent to bring students from Hangu,” he said. He added that it took three hours to reach Peshawar from Hangu. He said that they started their journey when Sunday was dawning.
A group of students hailing from the far-flung district Kohistan had reached Peshawar on Friday to appear in the test. They spent two nights in a local hotel. The students demanded of the government to arrange examination centre in their district or the adjacent one because it was difficult for them to cover such a long distance.
The students said that they belonged to poor families and couldn’t afford expenses for staying in hotels. About one kilometre long queue of vehicles was seen on both sides of the Grand Trunk Road during the test.
Asked why the examination centre was set up only in Peshawar, sources in Eata said that they were only responsible for conducting test while selection of the area was the prerogative of the education department.
Sources said that Eata could conduct tests at divisional level if the education department asked for it.
The elementary and secondary education every year announces scholarships under which provincial government affords education expenses of the selected students in the prominent public schools of the province.
Such schools include Fazalehaq College Mardan, Abbottabad Public School, Islamia Collegiate School Peshawar, Akram Durrani Public School Bannu, Kohat Cadet College and others.
The scholarships are meant only for the students enrolled in the government schools.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2017