SHC summons top officers of school education to explain new exam procedure, use of funds

Updated 19 Jan 2020

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The bench takes serious notice of use of the funds.  — File photo courtesy of Wikimedia
The bench takes serious notice of use of the funds. — File photo courtesy of Wikimedia

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has summoned the secretary of school education and director of schools to appear on Jan 21 and explain the procedure under which they centralised the examinations of schools under the education department, bypassing the past practice as well as utilisation of the Rs54 million funds meant for exams.

A single bench of the SHC headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar wondered how the education department could assess its own schools and under what circumstances the standing practice for assessment through the Institute of Business Administration was bypassed.

The bench also took serious notice of use of the funds after the deputy director for curriculum admitted that Rs54m was “utilised unnecessarily”.

While hearing a set of applications about examinations and copy culture, the court warned that the matter might be referred for criminal investigation if the officials failed to give a proper justification at the next hearing.

At the outset of hearing, a compliance report was submitted by the focal person of the teachers training institution. Deputy director of curriculum Khalid Mehmood also filed a written statement.

While responding to a question of the bench, the deputy director submitted that the provincial government had restructured the department of curriculum separately and, therefore, the training institution section was not falling under the domain of the bureau of curriculum as the bureau was designed to review the curriculum, textbooks as well as assessment tests.

He further contended that last year the schools, under the secretary for school education, had conducted exams from 5th to 8th classes at their own while bypassing the old examination system, adding that papers were prepared by the curriculum section and were circulated to schools and all other procedure was supervised by the secretary for schools.

The deputy director for curriculum further stated that around Rs54m budget was allocated and utilised for this exercise in the last year and added that the curriculum section had also taken the academic domain of assessment.

The bench observed that the purpose of the bureau of curriculum was significant as one of its aims was to bring uniformity in the education system, matching with recognised standard.

“The process of development/betterment always requires supervision by an independent institution because one logically cannot be a judge of his own omissions. The roots must always be strengthened which, in absence of fair and independent examination, shall always remain hung. The education department must ensure satisfaction of full implementation of its developed curriculum in complete education system but must invite an independent eye to know the fruit thereof,” it added.

The bench in its order further observed that the curriculum section came under the secretary for the school education department, hence the assessment by the same department for their own efficiency was very strange and even illogical and whereas previously for years there was a standing practice that the IBA Sukkur was conducting assessment to test the quality of education which appeared to be rather logical and purposeful.

It further said that there also appeared to be no reasonable justification for parting with such a practice and it raised a number of questions, which needed explanations.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2020