Reform the General Aptitude Test

Letter September 01, 2013
Our present education system doesn’t prepare a student to think analytically.

ISLAMABAD: The National Testing Service has made the General Aptitude Test (GAT) compulsory for admission to M.Phil programmes as well as foreign scholarships. Instead of checking one’s aptitude, the test measures the following three things: analytical skills (it includes puzzles); mathematics and Basic English.

Our present education system — based on rote learning, subjective assessments patterns, lengthy examinations — doesn’t prepare a student to think analytically and solve questions that involve, say, the solving of puzzles. It just teaches us that we can advance and succeed academically if we memorise things. Similarly, why is there a test of mathematics or even Basic English for an applicant who is applying for an M.Phil in a social science such as psychology or anthropology?

The result is that thousands of students appear and fail repeatedly due to the first two sections as they cannot learn logical reasoning in one month. The present structuring of the GAT is flawed and is discouraging students from pursuing higher education. What we need instead is a system where aptitude tests are taken by universities themselves. I hereby request the Higher Education Commission to consider this matter.

Ansa Amir

Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2013.

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