Leaked test papers: ETEA chief slammed

Published: September 12, 2018
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Peshawar High Court. PHOTO: FILE

Peshawar High Court. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: A high court on Tuesday lashed out at the poor performance of the provincial testing agency and grilled its chief for failing to conduct a transparent entrance test for medical colleges in the province.

The bench termed the performance of the Education Testing and Evolution (ETEA) chief as “a big zero” and warned him that he could be booked if the paper was leaked again.

A two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC) Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Qalandar Ali Khan was hearing a writ petition of senior lawyer Isa Khan regarding the cancellation of the admission test for the University of Peshawar (UoP).

During Tuesday’s hearing, the bench touched on the leakage of the test paper for the medical universities entrance tests and the problems students had to face at the hands of ETEA.

The bench immediately ordered ETEA Chief Executive Israrullah to appear in court within an hour.

As Israrullah appeared before the bench, he was grilled by the two judges for his failure to conduct a transparent entrance test.

“Students are depressed and are committing suicides,” remarked Justice Rashid. “They used to study hard for the test for months, but you cannot even conduct a fair test.”

The judge went on to say that the paper was freely available on social media network Facebook, and asked why should the apex anti-corruption body not be asked to conduct an inquiry against him.

Justice Qaiser termed the test paper leak a criminal act and that the ETEA chief could be held responsible for it.

When the Israrullah told the court that he joined the testing agency from the teaching cadre of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and that he had barely spent a year in the agency, Justice Qaiser remarked: “you have a big zero performance.”

At this, the ETEA chief said that he had registered an FIR and that two people, including a driver and a guard, had been arrested for leaking the paper.

The court, though, dismissed his explanation.

“Registering FIR and arresting a driver is not the solution,” the court remarked and directed him to arrest the real culprits involved.

The court also criticized the arrangements for the test and remarked that they appeared to be “concentration camps” where the students could not even see the exits.

“What if there is a stampede? What if there is any other emergency, how would you control it,” the court asked.

Israrullah’s answers to these questions, though, could not satisfy the court.

“We will direct to register a first information report (FIR) against you if you fail to conduct a transparent test,” Justice Qaiser said when told that the test had been rescheduled for September 23.

The court was further told that the test will be held for the third time after the first test had to be cancelled owing to rain and bad weather.

The bench after grilling the ETEA Chief said that it is an important issue which can determine the future of thousands of students. Thus the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) director general and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Inspector General of Police were directed to appear before the court in person on September 13 and explain how the leaks can be plugged in the future.

As many as 38,000 students had appeared for the entrance test on August 19, seeking admissions in the medical colleges of the province.

The test, organised by the Khyber Medical University (KMU), had been conducted by the ETEA simultaneously at seven locations across the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 12th, 2018.

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