ISLAMABAD: To make meaningful progress in educational development there is a dire need to improve the examination system, academic affairs and the curriculum.
This was stated by Federal Education Board Chairman Dr Ikram Ali Malik while speaking to Daily Express recently.
He said that over the past five years, the board has been working as per international standards and has introduced a number of upgrades such as one-window operations, launching an online system, decreasing the number of practical centres, the timely provision of results and earning the status of a ‘model board’.
The board’s chairman added that around 400,000 students of matriculation and intermediate will give their exams through the federal board this year, adding that educational institutions in territories such as the erstwhile federally administered tribal areas (Fata) and Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) are all affiliated with the board.
He explained that the affiliation of institutions in Gilgit-Baltistan was possible through the Karakoram University Board. Similarly, educational instructions located within cantonment boards were also affiliated with the federal board of education.
Responding to a question about the presence of several educational boards in the country, especially the coveted status of some foreign affiliated boards such as the Cambridge University linked Ordinary (O’ Levels) and Advanced Levels (A’ Levels) and recent remarks by the Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood of doing away with these systems, Dr Malik said that there was a need to first strengthen our indigenous education system.
“Once we strengthen our own system, we automatically will not need to go towards O/A Levels,” Dr Malik explained while pointing towards the likes of neighbouring India.
“However, this will take at least up to 10 years,” he said.
“The quality of a country’s education system is evaluated based on its curriculum, teachers and examination system. If we bring our teaching requirements, curriculum and examination system at par with the O/A levels, we will be able to compete with the world,” he explained.
Moreover, he emphasised that his board has no role in deciding the curriculum.
While talking about the quality of practical examinations, he said that they have taken certain measures to improve the quality of the practical exam system at the matriculation and Federal Science (intermediate level) examinations.
“The number of practical centres has been reduced and practicals will now be conducted in laboratories which are fully equipped,” he explained.
To facilitate students, he said that they have installed a one-window system so that students can now submit an online request for the resolution of any issue which they may have.
“Typically, the very next day documents are sent to them through courier services,” Dr Malik explained, adding that students who email between office hours, particularly from 9am in the morning to midnight receive swift responses.
This service is available seven days of the week.
“Issues of up to 80,000 students have been resolved through this system,” he claimed.
The board’s chairman added that they have trained their teachers especially for paper-based marking, however, they have now introduced a screen-marking system as well through which papers are sent online, and marking can be done within and outside the country.
“Supplementary papers were marked through this system, moreover, this year computer science and a few biology papers will be marked [through screen-marking system],” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 8th, 2019.