KARACHI: For many people the five-day working week means more time for some R and R, but for the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi, this means trouble.
Before the Sindh government announced a five-day working week with immediate effect on Thursday, the board had already finalised an exam schedule starting Monday.
The board decided to meet on Friday to discuss what was to be done. The board’s chairman Prof. Anwar Ahmed Zai told The Express Tribune that the issue needs to be discussed with the committees formed to conduct the exams. “We have to see whether we can afford to defer the exams which were scheduled to take place on Saturday,” he said. “It is not an easy task to reschedule the exams. They might have to take place one after the other with a few days gap in between.”
BIEK conducts intermediate exams in two phases – this year the first phase will start from May 7 and carry on till May 28, this includes candidates registered through schools for science, pre-engineering, pre-medical, home economics and commerce. The second phase which is for students from the art group and private candidates was scheduled to start from June 5.
Around 87 examination centres – 49 for boys and 38 for girls – were set up for 161,556 candidates who will give their exams in May. So far, the board has not set up any examination centres in Lyari because of the unstable law and order situations. According to BIEK Chairman, the candidates from Lyari will be giving their exams in Saddar.
The good, the bad and the education sector
For Ahmed Zai, the five-day working week means an uninterrupted supply of energy at work. “We can sacrifice one academic day and work an extra hour to ensure that we meet our deadlines,” he said. “However, if we can’t achieve our target and the energy crisis persists, then the government should find a more practical alternative.”
According to the former pro-vice chancellor of the University of Karachi, Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, the five-day working week was a good way to conserve energy and reduce traffic in the city. She said that the university could easily finish the academic load by extending academic hours to 40 hours a week. However, in a meeting with the vice chancellor, they decided to increase lecture hours from the next semester.
The nazim of the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, Muhammad Tehseen, told The Express Tribune that the government should exempt educational institutions from its decision to have five-day working weeks. “A shorter working day will not have an impact on the load-shedding,” he said. “Half of the curriculum is still left because of a shortage of teachers and the law and order situation.”
The president of Insaf Students Federation’s Karachi chapter, Arsalan Ghumman, is quite glad that the students get to have a two-day weekend. “This is a norm in most developed countries around the globe,” he said. “This way, students get enough time to complete their assignments and research.” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 5th, 2012.
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