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LAHORE: At the request of boards of intermediate and secondary education (BISEs) and textbook boards across the country, the federal government may recommend the provinces to declare examination-related duties -- supervisory and evaluation -- as essential service.The BISEs from all provinces, mainly Punjab, face refusals from experienced and competent teachers, educationists etc for performing jobs as invigilators, supervisors and superintendents (supervisory duties) in annual and supplementary matric and intermediate examinations and as paper setters, checkers, examiners etc (evaluation duties) due to low wages and availability of alternate or better earning resources other than the routine teaching jobs in private sector.

The government will soon pass on the directions to all provincial governments after the BISEs on behalf of their respective provincial boards committee of chairmen (PBCCs) submitted a detailed charter of recommendations to the Inter Board Committee of Chairman (IBCC), a subsidiary of the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Coordination, in a recent gathering on examination system held in Islamabad.

“We have presented a joint charter of recommendations to the federal government (IBCC) and it has promised to soon direct provinces in this regard after discussing it in detail in the respective standing committees,” says a senior BISE official who attend the three-day event that was attended by all the BISEs’ chairmen, controllers and secretaries, senior officials of the federal government and those associated with the A and O levels examination system.

In Punjab, 4.2 million students appear in annual and supplementary exams of matric and intermediate. For this purpose, thousands of teachers are assigned supervisory and evaluation duties. But a number of teachers either refuse to perform such duties or perform them half-heartedly due to low wages and availability of better earning resources in private sector. “All BISEs pay Rs35 to 40 for each paper/answer sheet checking to the examiners. Similarly Rs700 to 1000 is paid to those performing duty as invigilators, supervisors, superintendents etc. Since they have better earning opportunities—such as teaching in academies, colleges in evening—they refuse to perform exam-related jobs. Since we are ready to increase the wages, we have also sought declaration of the said duties as essential service like the duties they perform in election, census or other emergency duties,” the official explained. He said due to denial by the competent staff, the BISEs had no option but to assign such duties to those having no such experience.

The BISEs recommendations included establishment of central examination centres at all district and divisional headquarters to ensure proper monitoring, elimination of the rote learning system and introduction of the understanding on application system (understanding, analytical, evaluation, creative and conceptual based system). “Our recommendations included improvement in students learning outcome through teachers training and innovative paper setting and marking and making the environment better at the marking centres so as to maintain and restore confidence of students over the examination system,” the official said.

He said the BISEs also sought to develop a uniform mechanism that could help recognize our secondary and higher secondary education and examination system at international level. The official said during the event, Cambridge university officials in Pakistan also asked the IBCC to improve the certificate equivalence system too.

Published in Dawn, January 30th, 2017