This year, the number of intermediate students passing from colleges in Karachi went up by five per cent but this does not necessarily mean that the standard of education has improved at these colleges.
At the city’s 210 higher secondary education institutions, a little over half of the students managed to squeeze through. They fall in the 16- to 18-year-old bracket. In fact, the education department has been struggling to rein in “bad” private colleges whose intermediate results have flagged year after year.
It is difficult to assess if there has been an improvement. Last year, 140 colleges managed a 50 per cent pass percentage. This year it was 183 colleges.
This year the number of colleges managing less than 30 per cent results stands at 148. Only 19 colleges registered a zero pass percentage. In 2011, 187 colleges had managed less than 30 per cent results while at 36 colleges none of the students could pass their exams.
All’s not well
Even at the Adamjee Government Science College, where the pass percentage was more than 90 per cent, the challenges were acutely felt even though it is considered the best college in the city.
When it was established, Adamjee college had 42 teachers for 500 students. After 50 years, the number of teachers is still the same for 1,500 students, said Athar Hussain Mirza, a senior professor at the college. There is a single English teacher at the college.
How a teacher can deliver a lecture or how can the students concentrate when the classrooms are either too crowded or empty, Mirza contended.
At Government Girls Degree College in Zamzama, there are six English teachers but no one to teach commerce or economics courses, according to its principal Prof. Zakira Kazi.
Every year, the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi issues show-cause notices to the colleges which manage a pass percentage below 30 per cent. The institutions are warned to improve on the situation by the next year or their affiliation “may” be revoked.
In the past three years, notices have been sent to the colleges but their affiliations have never been called off, the board’s chairperson, Anwar Ahmed Zai, told The Express Tribune.
A request has already been sent to the chief minister to permit the board to take action against colleges. When the issue had come up before the director of colleges last year, he asked for a one-year respite due to shortage of teachers, which the directorate was trying to resolve.
Directorate of Colleges
“These [colleges] must be the ones where no studious student would like to be enrolled,” said the director of colleges, Prof. Dr Nasir Ansar.
Since these colleges must be run, they are permitted to admit students who do not get admissions to any other colleges because of their low Matriculation scores, he said. “[Or] shall we close the door to education for such students?” He questioned.
To overcome the shortage of teachers, Dr Ansar talks about a “rationalisation plan”, which even after one year has yet to be finalised.“The directorate plans to post teachers according to subject-wise requirements and the needs of students at the colleges,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 10th, 2012.
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