KARACHI: The failure of the Sindh education authorities to schedule the results of matriculation examination in time for college admissions has reduced the academic year for first-year students to seven months.
College Education Secretary Parvez Ahmed Seehar issued an ambiguous notification regarding the admission policy for first-year intermediate students in government colleges. While it approves the Sindh Electronic Centralised College Admission Program (SECCAP 2019) for admissions and states the main policy for admissions for 2019 will be the same as the policy for 2018, it fails to mention from when the admission process for colleges will begin, when the forms will be made available and from when classes may start.
This suggests that the academic session for first-year students in government colleges of Sindh will be restricted to seven months. Classes will begin in September and end in March while examinations will be held in April.
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This irrational policy by the department has placed students under a lot of pressure and consequently led to a boom in the business of tuition centres. The centres started holding classes long before the admission process in colleges began giving student ample time to complete their syllabi. Many teachers of the government colleges have also become affiliated with these institutes.
The private sector has found a different way to cope with the situation. Private colleges either started their academic session or at least completed the admission process on the basis of the results of grade IX.
Last year, the chairperson of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) wrote a letter to the Sindh education minister informing him of how the policy disadvantaged students. He suggested that instead of waiting for matriculation results to come in, colleges grant admissions to students on the basis of their results in class IX. Thus, the duration of the academic session could be increased.
However, the college education department didn't pay heed to this matter nor was any policy designed to accelerate the admission process.
According to the notification, the fee for admission forms will not be charged from the students and the students will be able to submit their admission forms at www.sindhcolegeeducation.gov.pk/seccap. The candidates who have passed the matriculation exams or its equivalent from boards other than Board of Secondary Education Karachi would have to submit their admission forms in the office of colleges director-general (DG).
The IT section of college education department will make an online system for the submission of forms and issue a merit list. Sindh Colleges DG will be the chairperson of the central committee for admissions while colleges regional directors will be included in the committee as vice-chairpersons.
It is worth noting that no principal of any college has been made part of the committee as yet though it has been said that the chairperson of the committee will include the principals of a few government colleges.
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According to the notification, three officials of the college education department will be included in the committee.
Inspection Director Murad Ali Rahimo has been nominated as secretary of the committee while Inspection Deputy Director Muhammad Afzal and Finance Director Saleh Abbas have been nominated as the focal persons of the committee.
When The Express Tribune approached Sindh Colleges Director Professor Abdul Hameed Chanter regarding the short academic session, he said that the session in colleges has started a month earlier, in June, this year since summer vacations began earlier, in May.
When he was reminded that classes for second-year intermediate students and admission process for first-year intermediate students have still not begun, he replied that they have started classes for first-year students in interior Sindh after completing the admission process on the basis of matriculation admit cards. He added, however, that in Karachi admissions were subject to matriculation results.
Chanter said that according to the matriculation board, results will be published within a week after which admission process will begin.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2019.