PESHAWAR: The apex court of the province on Tuesday expressed its resentment over the performance of the provincial education department in bringing reforms to the curriculum and the examination system, noting that it had in fact, imperilled the future of students.
This was stated as a two-member bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), comprising Senior Puisne Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Abdul Shakoor, resumed hearing a writ petition against the abolishment of class eight exams.
On Tuesday, the court summoned the secretaries of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) education department and the education board.
Upon their arrival in the court after a break, they were asked why were reforms not introduced in the department in a single go.
“Each year we hear about new changes being introduced in the examination system or the curriculum,” Justice Rashid said.
He continued that the new changes introduced tease the students as well as their parents.
The justice further noted that while reforms should be introduced in the system, they should not be made overnight, rather the timeframe to introduce any reform should be at least three years.
The education department secretary told the court that under the new curriculum, exams for the ninth and the tenth grades will be held at the same time.
He explained that most of the schools skipped the eighth-grade exams as they focus on attaining the top position in board exams.
“This is why we have bound them for eighth-grade board exams,” he explained.
The official further stated that they were bringing another reform in the examination system to convert them on the pattern of the Federal Arts (FA) and the Federal Science (FSC) exams — where exams are taken as a whole in a single session. He argued that this system allows students to prepare the best and hence yield the best results.
Justice Rashid further inquired what measures have been taken to reduce the weight of school bags as students continue to carry bags heavier than themselves.
He also criticized the provincial government, remarking that each new provincial government changes the language of instruction in schools. The previous government insisted on using Urdu as the language of instruction while few insisted on English.
“The parents unable to pay the high fees, while private schools have also set up a corner for stationary to enhance their earning in the sector,” Justice Rashid said, adding that the education department does not take measures to eliminate such malpractices.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 4th, 2019.