KARACHI: The Country’s Prominent Pedagogue, Chairman of National Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (NACTE) Islamabad and Professor Emeritus of Aga Khan University, Institute for Educational Development (AKU-IED) Karachi Prof Dr Muhammad Memon who obtained his doctorate. in Education (Curriculum Studies) from the University of Surrey, England in 1989. He has won numerous laurels and awards throughout his distinguished career as an educator in the country. He was Chairman of Board of Middle and Secondary Education Hyderabad (BISEH) Sindh, Official Chairman of other BISE Mirpurkhas and Shaheed Benazirabad.
Why don’t public and private universities trust academies and organize pre-entry tests for applicants?
Dr MM: There might be an element of lack of confidence from universities and professional colleges in the results of board examinations, but universities and professional colleges, as academic autonomy, have their own admissions policies for ensuring that the right kind of candidates are enrolled in their programs. maintain certain standards. It is a worldwide practice of universities to test students before they enroll in programs.
Can we do something that satisfies universities so that they don’t take a pre-admission test?
Dr MM: Yes, board review should align with entrance test requirements and boards should improve the quality of the review to ensure universities and vocational colleges that their result scores are not inflated and that all quality assurance processes are followed. However, the management of universities and colleges and professional councils can discuss this matter and resolve it amicably.
Since when do public and private universities organize pre-entry tests for applicants?
Dr. MM: For more than two decades, universities and professional colleges have become increasingly concerned about poor teaching quality and inflated school board ratings. Universities and vocational colleges have decided to conduct their entrance test based on certain standards.
Students go the extra mile to prepare for entrance tests through private academies that charge quite high fees. Thus, due to a misalignment of the requirements of the Council examinations and the entrance tests, the majority of students do not perform well. The conduct of the entrance tests has also raised a major issue of lack of confidence in the exam results which has seriously affected the overall credibility of the examination and education boards. This needs to be resolved by making an improvement to the exam.
How could we make Sindh’s examination system effective?
Dr. MM: Many countries have improved their examination system, but Pakistan has not done much in this regard yet. It’s fair to say that the commission review system hasn’t changed much. Teacher pedagogy is strongly influenced by the requirements of the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) examinations. As a result, teachers prepare students for exams through rote learning and students are expected to replicate their knowledge in exams. The exam questions are selected from the textbooks rather than the syllabus, which seems to be a major weakness of the exam and these are mainly based on a lower order of cognitive skills, therefore, there is no no place to assess the higher level of students’ cognitive skills. in exams. However, paper setters do not follow test specifications, which is why the majority of questions are prepared to assess students’ memory. Without test specifications, teachers don’t know why they teach the material, writers don’t know why they prepare items for the tests, and examiners/evaluators don’t know what and how they assess the items. A number of research studies and donor reports indicate that reviews are not fully transparent and fair due to cheating and other unfair means during the review. Although the councils have taken the necessary measures to combat cheating and other abusive practices, there is no substantial improvement. Thus, the students get high grades and positions, but when they appear for the entrance tests of vocational institutions, many of them fail the entrance tests, which has seriously damaged the image and credibility of the review.
In order to improve the examination system in Sindh, I have prepared a draft strategy for improving the examination system and shared it with all relevant stakeholders, but no progress has been made so far. ‘now. The draft strategy contains the following policy actions:
Introduce examination system automation, assess the higher order of students’ cognitive skills, introduce curriculum-based examination, modify question item bank papers, improve the teaching and learning process , conduct a fair and transparent exam, develop a robust scoring system and scoring rubrics, prepare transparent exam results, and conduct research as part of the exam.
Could not one council and one education system serve Sindh?
Dr MM: Generally, there is a single education system in Sindh, but there are variations as there are several providers offering education in educational institutions and the public sector is a large sector. However, the delivery of education varies from school to school, district to district, and division to division due to the varying quality of teachers, pedagogy, assessment, physical facilities, school management, etc. Similarly, there is variation in the provision of education within the private sector due to its size, capacity and purpose. The result of the Council’s review also confirms the variation in the performance of educational institutions within the public and private education sector. The private sector performs better than the public sector, however, there are exceptional cases in the public sector. School supervision and inspection can play an important role in strengthening the education system and overcoming major variations.
How many candidates from four classes (9th to 12th class) take board examinations in Sindh each year?
Dr MM: I don’t have an exact number of SSC and HSSC candidates, but the estimated number of SSC and HSSC candidates could be over 1 million in Sindh.
Would you like to comment on the cracks, cracks, flaws and glitches of the education systems in public and private councils and how can we fill these gaps?
Dr MM: Examination boards have suffered from the poor quality of questionnaires based on textbooks rather than the syllabus, lack of institutional capacity, lack of rigor in conducting the examination, cheating and other malpractices during the exam, lack of effective use of technology in the exam, lack of transparency in exam results and analysis of exam results. In order to improve the examination system, it is necessary to improve the processes related to the pre, during and after the examination through a viable examination policy.
Do you think? are the examination papers of the juries evaluated on merit?
Dr MM: All Boards follow certain criteria to select Chief Examiners and Sub Examiners who are normally senior teachers from public or private schools to make the assessment authentic, but due to the lack of strong marking grids, the reviewers do not follow the principle of authentic assessment. As a result, each year, several students express their dissatisfaction with the assessment and the councils try to respond to the grievances of the students. Authentic and accurate marking is an issue that has also affected the quality of the review. Although councils organize orientation etc. with reviewers, the problem.