KARACHI: Matric examinations for Classes IX and X began on Monday in Karachi and across Sindh. As the first set of exams took place in the city yesterday, it was evident that the administration of the Karachi Board of Secondary Education (KBSE) failed to check cheating during the exams.
The authorities had claimed to impose Section 144 at examination centres to check unfair practices, especially cheating, during the examination. If Section 144 was imposed students would not be allowed to gather in groups before the exams, photocopy shops around the centres would have remained closed and unauthorised persons would not have been allowed in the premises of the centres.
However, students were observed using mobile phones and cheating materials freely during the exams despite there being a ban on students bringing mobile phones to examination centres. Unauthorised persons were also seen entering the centres.
8th grade girl student ‘brutally tortured' by teacher for 'cheating'
A student was caught solving another student's paper in SM Public Boys Secondary School. When asked, the student failed to tell the name of the school he belonged to.
The name written on his admit card was found to be incorrect as well at which the officials confiscated his admit card and ordered an investigation.
Vigilance teams of Sindh Education Minister Sardar Shah, KBSE Chairperson Dr Saeedudin, and Secondary School Education Secretary Hamid Karim visited various schools during the examinations on Monday.
It had been announced that media would not be allowed to visit the examination centres independently and would accompany officials during their inspection visits of which they would be informed. However, the education minister went to centres in Lyari and Gulbahar Colony. He left the centres within a few minutes and reported that everything was running smoothly.
The media however accompanied minister Sardar Shah on his visits to other schools along with MPA Abdul Rasheed.
During these visits the minister inspected the examination arrangements and spoke to invigilators, students and teachers. Shah directed the superintendents to ensure arrangements of basic necessities for students during the examinations. On his visit to BF Cabral Government Boys School the minister suspended the headmaster for taking an uninformed leave.
Speaking to the media, Shah said that he wanted people to report any disturbance witnessed at the centres and added that immediate action would be taken. In response to a question, he said that the education boards had to do better in terms of ensuring provision of basic facilities.
The minister claimed that collective efforts should be made to curb cheating. "Conducting examinations is basically the duty of the education boards and not ours," said Shah. He added that cheating needed to be curbed at all costs. The minister stated that he had sent all section officers and secretaries to examination centres in interior Sindh to ensure there was no cheating taking place.
As scheduled, the Class IX and X Matric exams for the biology science groups were held in the morning shift, and the general groups' exams were conducted in the afternoon on Monday.
According to KBSE Chairperson Dr Saeedudin, this year 367,060 students were appearing for the Class IX and X science and general group Matric examinations. There are 365 examination centres set-up at 202 private schools and 163 public schools.
He informed that 158,680 students were appearing for the Class IX science group exams and 163,371 students were appearing for the Class X science group exams. For this purpose 167 centres for girls and 198 centres for boys had been set up. In the general group, there would be 45,555 candidates appearing for the exams, he said.
According to him, admit cards were issued from the education board's office earlier and a date sheet as per the new schedule was uploaded on the board's website to facilitate students. Private candidates received their admit cards at their mailing addresses.
He informed that a reporting cell was set-up in the board office and special vigilance teams of senior teachers were formed to visit the examination centres.
Besides, an effective system had been put in place for the transfer of examination papers, he said. The board will send the papers to hub centres where control officers will send the papers to relevant centres, he explained. The officers at the centre will invigilate the exams and stamp the filled answer sheets before sending them to the board office.
He said the government was putting in a joint effort along with the district administration to curtail cheating. All departments were facilitating the conduct of transparent examinations, he said adding that a letter had been written to K-Electric asking them to avoid load shedding during the exams so that students could give their exams in a conducive environment.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2019.