By Asad Farooq
KARACHI: The decision of Sindh Education Department’s steering committee to hold matriculation’s practical examination ahead of theory has initiated a debate among educational circles. This would not be the first time for the education department to hold practical exam ahead of theory and same formula was being followed in the country till a decade ago.
As per the decision of the committee, practical examinations will be held between March 1 and 19 whereas theory examinations will start in early April.
Supporting the decision, All Private School Management Association’s president Khalid Shah said that it was taken unanimously. When asked about the negative impacts of decision, he said that students would not suffer from it since all standard educational institutes rehearse practicals throughout the year and only those rehearsing practicals at the end of the year would suffer.
He further said that there is a lapse in present examination schedule as admissions for class one to eight, start soon after exams when a significant number of teachers are engaged in practical examination of matriculation, eventually hindering their proper attention toward fresh students. Now, after this decision, they can pay proper attention to the students, after getting done with the invigilation responsibilities beforehand, he added.
Board of Secondary Education Karachi Controller Examinations Rafia Mallah said that the decision was quite appropriate and timely. To a question, she said that the decision was in favour of both school administrations and students.
Mallah further said that usually schools and teachers are engaged in internal examination of class three to eight from March 1 onwards and meanwhile they could not pay heed to the students of class nine and as per the decision all students will be engaged in examinations at the same time.
She further said that the decision was also beneficial for students of matric class as they had to wait for around a month after their theory examination for only one or two practical exams. She said now, a matric student will get a three-month break for recreation or learning extra skills through short diploma or certificate courses. Besides this, she said, a prolonged issue of late results announcement will be eliminated automatically as results of practical examinations will be prepared a month earlier than former practice.
On the other hand, Saad, a student of class nine said that he and his fellows were in misery as they were focused on theory examination and now were bound to go through the practicals first. He further said that now they have to complete their journals, along with the lab practice on a very short notice.
A private teacher Sheeraz said that the decision has diverted the focus of students and to him, it was only in the favour of school managements.
Another school teacher, Nasir Afridi maintained that it would be quite an inappropriate decision saying, 75 marks, a mere 9 percent of matriculation’s total 850 marks are segregated for practicals and the former schedule favoured the students who could focus on theory examinations.
Arguments at both sides indicate that the decision makers should have a consensus with various stakeholders since positive or negative, this decision would caste its effects on 350,000 students of more than 4,500 schools.