PESHAWAR: The elementary and secondary education department has decided to revert to the composite examination system for the secondary school certificate with abolition of board examination for the students of 9th grade from 2020, according to sources.

“The education department has also decided to conduct examinations for the students of 8th grade through boards of intermediate and secondary education,” sources in education department told Dawn.

Presently the education department conducts segregated examinations for both parts — 9th and 10th grades — of the secondary school certificate while the students of 8th grade appear in the internal examinations, conducted by the administration of respective school.

Official says drastic changes to ensure quality education

Sources said that the decisions were made in a recent meeting of the high-ups of the education department. In the same meeting, sources said, the education boards would also conduct evaluation of the students of 5th grade of the 10 per cent schools while random evaluation of the students of 2nd and 3th grades would be conducted through third party.

“Drastic changes in the examinations of different grades have been made for quality assurance,” a senior official of education department told Dawn. He said that billions of rupees were utilised on the brick and mortar but no attention was paid to the quality of the education by the successive governments.

The official said that education department would notify those decisions soon. Justifying introduction of the board examination for 8th graders, the official said whenever the education department asked the teachers about the poor performance of the students in the SSC board examination, they blamed their colleagues in middle schools for it.

He said that teachers of the secondary schools were of the view that their colleagues in the middle schools promoted the 8th graders despite having poor marks in the internal examinations and they couldn’t pick the course of the secondary classes.

So the examinations for students of 8th grade would be conducted by the boards to work like a filter, said the official. “Now the education boards will not promote the students of 8th grade unnecessarily which was being done in internal examinations,” he added.

Citing the second reason, he said that private schools had never taught course of 8th grade to their students rather they started the course of the 9th grade to them and completed it in two years.

With the introduction of the board examination for the 8th grade, the private schools would have no option but to teach the students their actual course, said the official.

Regarding the evaluation of the 5th, 3rd and 2nd grades, he said that it would be conducted in the coming March and April. Asked why the board examination for 9th grade was abolished, he said that it would be difficult for the students to appear consecutive in three board examinations from 8th to 19th grade.

The chairman of an education board told Dawn that the composite examination system for both parts of matric was in practice till 2009. However, it was bifurcated to reduce burden on the students as they were taking the examination in the course they were taught in two years, he said.

The decision of the bifurcation was made during inter-provincial ministerial meeting of the education ministers of all provinces, he said.

In the existing bifurcated examination system of SSC, questions were chosen from almost each chapter of the course while it would not be possible in the composite examination, said the chairman.

Published in Dawn, February 4th, 2019