Better pass percentage: ‘Intelligence, good grades are not the same thing’

Published: July 27, 2012
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" When students
gets bad grades if they
do not provide ‘right
memorised’ answer,
rote learning becomes
the norm,"
Freelance writer and teacher
Nabiha Meher.

" When students gets bad grades if they do not provide ‘right memorised’ answer, rote learning becomes the norm," Freelance writer and teacher Nabiha Meher.

LAHORE: 

Though the pass percentage for the Lahore Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education secondary school examination results showed a six per cent improvement over 2011, educationists say it does not necessarily mean effective learning.

“Intelligence and good grades are not the same thing,” Nabiha Meher, a freelance writer and teacher, told The Express Tribune. Meher said that there could be “several reasons” for the improvement, it should not be equated to good learning. She, however, added that  a detailed analysis of the examination system would be needed to identify the reasons. In an environment where students gets bad grades if they do not provide ‘right memorised’ answer, noted Meher, rote learning becomes the norm.

Meher stressed that the ‘passive’ educational system needs to become ‘active’ but added that that could not happen until the government addresses the lack of trained teachers and devises syllabi that encourage critical thinking. Another reason for the sorry state of the education system listed by Meher includes the salaries teachers are paid. “[They] are so low that the teachers become de-motivated,” she said.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pakistan National report 2012 of the Social Audit of Local Governance and Delivery of Public Services, in the last decade, provincial governments have run ‘specialised education campaigns’ to improve primary and secondary education.

Despite this, says the report, there has been a three per cent decline in the level of satisfaction from 2009-2010. In 2011-12, the satisfaction level was 55 per cent as compared to 58 per cent n 2009-10.

Dr Baela Raza Jamil of Idara-i-Taleem-o-Agahi also agreed with Meher. She described results as “mere numbers, which often fail to take into consideration the intelligence and aptitude of a child.” Dr Jamil, who has previously served in the Ministry of Education, questioned the lack of diversity in examination techniques.

“There’s a lot of undue pressure on children to get good grades,” she said while indicating that teachers focused their energies on the students getting high scores rather than ensuring that they learn.

“A do-or-die situation has been created, where a child who fails to score a certain grade is considered to be a failure,” she said.

Similar concerns were voiced by Ayesha Aslam who secured the first position amongst girls in the humanities group in the Secondary School Examination 2012. A student of Government Model Girls High School Okara, Aslam said that most of the questions in the exams are designed to examine the student’s ability to ‘memorise’. The problem, in Aslam’s opinion, lies with the way the exam papers are formulate.

“There need to be more concept-based questions in the exams,” she said. Aslam, who wants to join the civil services said that an education system which encourages students to question things is needed.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Rabi
    Jul 27, 2012 - 7:03AM

    Rote memory and corruption are the sources of good marks in examinations in Pakistan since long long ago.

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  • Usman Shahid
    Jul 27, 2012 - 12:05PM

    This is due the lack of purpose of Matric/FSC certificates.

    http://pakistani-edu.blogspot.com/2012/03/please-define-purpose-of-secondary-and.html

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  • Jamshed Gill
    Jul 27, 2012 - 12:29PM

    Pakistan has faced worst policy makers in all sectors and this objective type mode of examination system will lead us no where. Our students are losing power to write any essay or paragraph. The student of current age is focusing on getting good grades through cramming, this leaves him less developed in overall educational maturity. They are just given ready-made materials like notes, guides, etc to appear in exams and then just mark for right or wrong answers, guess papers are also there for so-called help. No one knows spellings and grammar, just passing time. This is something that needs attention, if we ignore this, our generations will become unable to write anything productive. This is demolishing their creative abilities. I request Express to highlight this issue in both print and electronic media so that our policy makers can get some knowledge about the destruction objective type system is causing. Hope some one will consider the hazards of objective type mode for a better Pakistani Education System.
    Best Regards

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  • Jul 28, 2012 - 12:22AM

    100% agree with Jamshed Gill

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