PESHAWAR: The elementary and secondary education department has withdrawn its Feb decision to hold a composite exam for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam (ninth and 10th grades) and decided that the education boards will hold exams for the two grades separately.
The abrupt move by the department only three months ahead of the completion of the academic year has stressed out the students, who insist they will struggle to prepare themselves for the imminent board exams.
Adviser to the chief minister on E&SE department Ziaullah Bangash justified the withdrawal of the composite exam decision.
“The Feb decision regarding the composite Secondary School Certificate examination was made in haste and therefore, we’ve withdrawn it,” he said.
The adviser said the provincial assembly’s standing committee on education had also directed the department to review the composite exam decision, while other stakeholders, including students, parents, teachers and lawmakers, too, favoured separate SSC exams.
An official of the education department insisted that private schools maneuvered the withdrawal of the composite exam decision. He said first the department vehemently defended the SSC composite exams in the high court as the private schools challenged them but now in a sudden move, it had decided that the education boards would hold the exams separately.
“Actually the education department has bowed down to the pressure of influential private schools,” he claimed.
The students said they were worried about how they would prepare for board exams in a short time.
They criticised the education department for wasting nine months by failing to decide whether the SSC exams will be held together or separately.
The ninth and 10th grade exams were held by the boards of intermediate and secondary education separately until Feb 2019 when the department decided to revert to composite exam system for secondary school certificate from 2020.
It also decided that the future eighth grade examination would be held by the education boards.
The students and teachers said they were relaxed to know that the ninth exam would be carried out by schools and not boards.
They said internal exams didn’t see student compete for higher marks as performance of those exams didn’t become part of the composite matriculation examination.
“Now as only three months have been left to the board examination slated to begin on March 13, it will be next to impossible for us to complete the course and prepare students for the board exam,” a school headmaster said.
Parents said the sudden decision on the separate SSC board exams had worried them about their children.
They insisted that the people at the helm were playing with the future of their children by pursuing wrong policies.
“My students got really upset when I told them that they will have to sit the board exam for 9th grade in three months,” he said, adding that the schoolchildren were not prepare for the exam.
The private schools had moved the high court against the education department’s notification for SSC composite exam and 8th grade board examination but the court rejected the petition.