THE National Testing Service, as the name implies, is a testing system introduced by the Musharraf regime primarily for grants of scholarships to students who intended to get higher education abroad.
With the passage of time it has become an organisation to be hired to conduct admission tests for different institutes/colleges of the country.
Nearly every month it conducts one or two tests.
The fee for appearing in the test ranges from Rs500 to Rs700, besides bank and dispatch charges. Nearly 40,000 to 50,000 candidates appear in these examinations.
Its existence is justified for the only reason that it conducts tests (GAT) for scholarships after graduation or tests for entrance to a professional institute after the higher secondary school level.
Making tests mandatory for those who want to get higher education (MS or PhD) in Pakistan — and that too at their own expenses —has no grounds for arranging such tests through NTS.
However if the HEC is still reluctant to accept this, it should announce that no examinations will be held at the graduate level.
The NTS should be authorised to hold the final examination instead of the relevant university or college.
Is it not a strange step that a student first appears in examinations at the graduate level and after successful completion of the graduate study, he again has to appear in the NTS examination?
This shows that the HEC does not trust examinations at university or college level. If this is true, the HEC should abandon these examinations.
This way the precious time of teachers, as well as the expenses incurred by students on these examinations, will be saved. The students will need not pass the same examinations twice.
However if the NTS held the examination only for the scholarship, then it surely justifies to hold the examination after graduation.
The HEC should encourage universities/colleges to hold separate examinations for students who want to pursue studies at their own cost.
Moreover, the paper prepared through the NTS contains questions that do not commonly form the contents of the syllabus taught at most universities.
If corrective steps are not taken, the present practice will only add misery to the problems of the students.
WALI M AFRIDI