Around 481 students who had passed their Intermediate with ‘A-1’ grades flunked the entrance test for admissions to graduate and postgraduate programmes at the University of Karachi, The Express Tribune has learnt.
All in all, around 10,300 candidates sat the KU entrance test that was carried out by the National Testing Service (NTS) on December 22. Of them, merely 37 per cent could get through the test, in which they had to secure a minimum of 50 marks out of 100.
The candidates vying for the admission had passed their Intermediate through the provincial boards of education, including Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas, the KU admissions director, Prof Khalid Iraqi told The Express Tribune.
During the last couple of years, not only the number of Intermediate students passing from colleges in Karachi went up by five per cent but a significant increase was also observed in the number of students graduating with the ‘A-1’ grades - the highest letter grade.
Last year, when a total of 2,729, or six per cent, of all Intermediate students who sat the exams in pre-engineering and pre-medical groups passed with ‘A-1’ grades the Board of Intermediate Education, Karachi, chairperson, Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai, boasted an increase of 356 more ‘A-1’ grades as compared to the year 2012, and 887 more ‘A-1’ grades as compared to the year 2011.
Education experts argued, however, that the improvement in numbers does not necessarily mean that the standard of education has also improved at public colleges.
“The examination system at our public institutions fails to check the students’ aptitude as they are expected to retain as much information as they can through their memory during a three-hour exam,” said Aziz Kabani, the director at Sindh Education Foundation. Entrance tests pose, however, a stiff challenge for the graduates of public institutions.
When students’ brains are preoccupied with memorisation-based education, said Kabani, it is very natural that analytical thinking in them is suppressed. In today’s world, it is the critical thinking skills that help students to stand out among others, he added.
For educationist and curriculum developer, Afshan A Razzak, the responsibility lies on teachers as well since they should prepare the students that what is being taught in the classrooms is not the end of the world. “They should encourage students to go through a number of available references and explore the available knowledge on any subject,” said Razzak. “If certain institutions have been failing to play this crucial role, it is the responsibility of the authorities to review their vision and policies to impart education.”
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2014.
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