Matric matrix: Online system fails to make the grade

Students protest against botched result report, and admissions delays.


Express August 13, 2011

MULTAN/SARGODHA:


Several cases of botched Matric results have emerged due to the malfunctioning online system in Multan and Sargodha.


According to protesters in both districts, students who received low marks have in some instances been given leading positions and in other cases top students have been downgraded due to a glitch in the online compilation system.

After protests and recommended re-checking, two more Multan board students have now secured top positions. Among the position holders, Javeria Khalid’s marks were raised to 1015 and she was declared third among the science group of students. “Before they revised my grades I had gotten 870 and I knew there had been some mistake. I know dozens of others whose papers were graded or listed incorrectly on the website,” Khalid said, adding “The Education Board needs to revise its online system. First people went through hell registering through the system because it kept crashing and then there was a crisis with the issuing of roll number slips. Now grades have been botched,” she said. Khalid said that she was glad to have achieved the third position but was upset about the trouble that her family had been caused. “We had to appeal to get the grades re-checked and re-issued,” she added.

Among boys’, Shehryar Asif secured 1008 marks and secured the third position. “I know several people whose grades were changed or needed changing. The system glitches had some people failing even though they had gotten a first or second division!” Asif said.  The board gave them bronze medals and cash prizes. According to board sources, the re-checking fee is Rs5,000 and so far 2,500 applications have been received in this regard.

In Sargodha, the malfunctioning computerised system was the cause of a massive protest last week. Hundreds of students took to the streets and demanded that their papers be re-checked after they received lower marks than anticipated. “Some people who we thought would get top marks have barely passed. It has to be something wrong with the system,” said Arshad Haroon, a matric student from Daska.

The Sargodha Education Board has received a total of 3,000 applications for paper re-checking after nine days of the result announcement. “The website was flooded with applications for re-checking and hundreds of people have been visiting our district offices to put in requests personally.

The process will take a few days but we have notified the board,” said an education board official.

Dozens of students have also protested that they were declared absent even though they sat the exams. “We brought in our teachers to testify on our behalf. I took all the exams but I have been marked absent for two exams in the computerised list,” said Naila Mujahid, from Daska.

The Exam Board has acknowledged that thousands of students were declared absent contrary to the fact that they sat the exams. The board has issued orders to recheck the computerised database against the attendance sheets on record. And students were forced to pay more re-checking fee.

The Education Board has given a 15-day deadline for re-checking of all papers but students have protested that most admissions in colleges will have closed by then. “The board needs to get colleges to extend their admission deadlines,” Ramsa Muhammad said. “It doesn’t matter if they recheck the papers if that means we still have to wait a year to get into college,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2011.

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