PESHAWAR: The higher education department has decided to hold the annual test for admission to engineering and medical colleges on Sept 6 and Sept 20, respectively, and asked students to prepare for it instead of heeding rumours of test delay.

Officials of the department told Dawn that owners of private coaching centres were carrying out an organised campaign on social media for a delay in entry tests.

They said the centres, which charged students Rs40,000 a month on average for test preparation, favoured the delay to make money.

The officials said the higher education department had decided that those entry tests would be held on Sept 6 and 20 and won’t be delayed.

They said coaching centres were misguiding students and their families by falsely claiming that there were 70 marks for the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency test in Punjab.

Dept asks students to disregard test delay rumours

The officials said there would be no negative marking in tests this year.

“Matriculation carries 10 per cent marks, FSc 40 per cent and Etea 50 per cent. The passing percentage for Etea test has been reduced from 60 to 33 and the eligibility marks of FSc from 70 to 65. For admission to public and private medical and dental colleges, the results of Etea test only will be considered,” an official said.

He also said the Etea test results would be applicable to seats of KP and its newly-merged districts in medical colleges of other provinces and Islamabad.

The officials said as usual, the entry tests would take place through Etea, Khyber Medical University and University of Engineering and Technology but the commercial organisations had been carrying out a fake campaign about it causing confusion and unrest among 50,000 students.

On Saturday, owner of a coaching centre released a video on social media asking students to demonstrate outside the provincial assembly’s building on Monday for test delay.

Officials said the fixing of the entry test schedule in all provinces was basically the responsibility of the relevant higher education departments, which decided about it after consulting all relevant authorities and institutions.

They said the KP government decided the test dates on a summary initiated by the Etea and moved by the HED through the establishment and chief secretary office for final approval of the chief minister, which is also the chairman of the Etea board of governors.

On Aug 20, the boards of intermediate and secondary education wrote a letter to the higher education secretary to delay the entry tests saying some students will be re-appearing for mark improvement on Sept 22.

However, the coordination committee, which met with the HED secretary in the chair, decided that the tests would be held in line with the schedule already announced for the 2020-21 session.

It asked students to prepare for tests ignoring the test delay rumours.

The officials said all students sitting the special board examination could appear in entry tests and that their updated results would be considered for final admission after tests.

Published in Dawn, August 30th, 2020