KARACHI: Approving the inquiry committee’s report on manipulation in results of SSC-II examinations, caretaker Chief Minister (retd) Justice Maqbool Baqar on Thursday directed the Anti-Corruption Establishment to investigate the entire exam team of Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) over the debacle.

The three-member inquiry committee, in its report submitted to the CM Sindh, held the entire examination and IT teams of BSEK responsible for glaring mistakes in the results.

The committee recommended a probe through the Anti-Corruption Establishment along with departmental action against all ‘delinquent’ officers, said a statement issued here.

The inquiry committee pointed out in the report ‘non-seriousness, non-professional attitude and inefficiency of board employees’.

The report claimed that the board chairman failed to introduce reforms and streamline the old and new streams while failing to maintain the record as well as imparting training of new systems to teachers involved in the assessment of answer sheets.

Approves inquiry committee’s report that holds board officials responsible for ‘glaring mistakes’

Appointed by the CM, the inquiry committee, chaired by Secretary School Education Dr Shereen Mustafa and comprising Additional Secretary Universities and Boards Afshan Rubab and Zuzain Katbar Section Officer of U&B department, investigated allegations of result manipulation in the 2023 SSC Part-II annual examination by the BSEK.

After the committee submitted its findings and recommendations on February 21, the CM approved them for implementation by the board chairman.

Throughout its proceedings, the committee noted lack of seriousness among called employees during hearings and discrepancies in the announcement and publication process of exam results. Despite requests, the actual result CD/USB was not provided for comparison. The report highlighted the dual role of Khalid Ehsan, deputy controller, who was both implicated in the result process and appointed to the internal inquiry committee.

The IT wing, which is a linchpin of all subject activities, has been ignored by the Board administration due to which all manipulation and management started, the committee observed, adding that a new result software was introduced in 2023 by M/s Basecamp IT Solution.

The students enrolled in the previous year under the previous software, but the new software calculated only the total marks of appeared subjects this year and included them in the gazette, the committee noted, adding that grade grace was also not included in the gazette due to mismatching of two software, which is a glaring act of inefficiency and the Board administration completely failed to satisfy on the front.

The committee observed that the Board had introduced the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) system for the first time. However, the teachers involved in assessing or checking the answer sheets were not provided with any training, resulting in a significant number of errors. This was a major issue on part of the Board’s office administration.

The committee found both the system provider consulting firm and Board administration accountable for inadequate hands-on training before implementing new systems. However, the administration failed to address identified issues effectively. Record maintenance for old and new students/schemes was found lacking, with no user-friendly solutions provided in available resources.

The examination team, including the controller and IT team, was held responsible for significant errors, with recommendations for further investigation by agencies like the Anti-corruption establishment. Departmental action was advised against all negligent officers. The lack of cooperation from officers, including the chairman, hindered the committee’s work.

The IT cell, software consulting firm, and contract administration were identified as particularly weak, along with unprofessional behaviour among examination branch staff. The chairman’s failure to introduce reforms worsened the board’s performance. Caretaker CM approved the committee’s recommendations based on the factual findings in the report.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2024

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