Education reshuffle: Private schools’ presence on BISE boards on the cards

Committees formed to look into abolition of entry tests, bring back practical exams .

Ali Usman September 18, 2014
Education reshuffle: Private schools’ presence on BISE boards on the cards


Minister for Education Rana Mashood has formed a committee to decide how representatives of private educational institutions could sit on the board of governors of Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education in the province, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Mashhood on Wednesday. Vice Chancellors of University of Engineering and Technology (UET) Lahore, University of Health Sciences, and representatives of the Higher Education Department, the School Education Department, the Punjab Text Book Board and the Punjab Information Technology attended the meeting. The Lahore BISE chairman, representatives of a private education group and some education experts were also present.

The minister appointed Lahore BISE Nasrullah Virk as chairman of the committee and asked him to submit his recommendations in two days.

Participants said that students from private schools constituted 40 to 42 per cent of the total students in the province and should therefore be represented on the BISEs.

One of the participants of the meeting told The Express Tribune that the minister had also suggested that public representatives be appointed as members of BISE boards of governors.

Participants deliberated over whether or not entry tests for admission to medical colleges and engineering universities should be abolished. A proposal requesting a decrease in the weight of entry tests or their abolition was presented.

Another participant said that several people were surprised to see one of the key secretaries presenting the proposal seeking abolition of entry tests. “Mashhood, however, said that was a matter for the committee to deliberate on.”

He said the minister was told that the provincial government did not have the authority to abolish entry tests. There were several rulings of the Lahore High Court and Supreme Court in this regard. He said the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council had made entry tests mandatory and given it a certain weight in its guidelines for admissions to medical colleges.

A committee chaired by educationist Dr Zafar Iqbal Quraishi was asked to look into the matter and submit a report in two days.

The third matter discussed in the meeting was whether practical examinations in matriculation and FSc exams should be brought back. “Practicals were abolished in 2013 and students were asked theoretical questions instead. Students don’t perform experiments in labs anymore,” one of the participants said. The members suggested that practicals were important as they taught students how to handle equipment in the lab, he said.

The minister appointed the UET Lahore vice chancellor as chairman of a committee to look into the matter and submit a report in two days.

A spokesman of the Education Department confirmed that the meeting had been held but refused to share details.

Mashhood’s personal staff officer said that he wasn’t available for comment.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 18th, 2014.


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