The new SMS results service of Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) suffered glitches on Wednesday, with thousands of 9th grade students receiving no response to queries about their results.
The board was inundated with requests via SMS soon after the results were made available at 10am. The results showed a 10 per cent improvement in the pass rate from the year before.
BISE Controller of Examinations Anwar Farooq said that by mid-day, the board had received 35,000 text messages from students, far more than it had been expecting. He said that a queue of some 7,000 requests had developed due to a technical problem in the service.
Farooq said the board had taken notice of the issue and that the service was back up within an hour. He said that all students whose requests were pending were sent an SMS apologising for the inconvenience. “We informed them that there was a problem due to which there was a delay but their result would be delivered via SMS soon,” he added.
He said that the new SMS service was meant to complement the BISE website. Last year, he said, the website had suffered problems due to heavy traffic load. The SMS service was meant to help reduce the burden on the website, while also giving students without access to the internet the chance to get their results via their phones.
“It is a substitute service for our online result service when the students cannot access the internet or the website,” he said, but added that the SMS service was still in its testing phase. Students seeking their results must send an SMS with their roll number to 80029, at the cost of a regular SMS.
BISE Public Relations Officer Qaiser Mehmood said that the website had worked smoothly this year.
There was also a problem reported with the marks sheet, with students reporting that they were given scores for a subject listed as ‘Pak Studies’ when it should have been ‘Physics’.
“It was a small mistake,” said Farooq. He said that during the formatting of the mark sheet on computer, ‘Pakistan studies’ had been selected instead of ‘physics’ from a drop-down list of subjects in alphabetical order.
He said that the error had gone unnoticed until the students brought it up. He said that the error had been corrected.
A total of 249,504 students sat the exams this year, around 12,500 more than last year. The pass percentage was 43.71 per cent, compared to 31.83 per cent in 2011.
Mahmood said that more than 2,000 teachers had been hired to mark the exams.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2012.