Examination and tests of National Testing Service (NTS) are optional and not mandatory for the universities to follow, a LHC judge, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, observed while hearing a petition filed by Syeda Anam Ilyas questioning the legality of NTS.
Justice Shah also directed the Higher Educational Commission to issue notices to the representatives of 140 universities/institutions of the country to answer in black & white whether National Testing Services tests could be used for the purpose of admission as well as awarding national and international scholarships.
The HEC was also directed to place on record all the monitoring reports of NTS since 2002 before the next date of hearing, December 13.
The counsel for NTS was directed to place on record the corporate profile of NTS, as well as, all the mandatory audits conducted by the HEC starting from the year 2002. NTS was further directed to submit statement of income along with its audited accounts and income tax returns to establish that it is a not-for-profit organization.
Awais Ahmed Ali, Director General, RD and Nazeer Harruni, R. Director, HEC made a categorical statement before the court that educational institutions were not bound to subscribe to the entrance examinations / tests conducted by NTS as it had not been approved by the HEC to act as a testing body under the Ordinance.
The representatives of the education institutions submitted that the testing body at a national level was need of the hour but any such body must be a part of or backed by collegiums of the recognized universities and should not be a private organization without any ownership of the centers of academic excellence in the country.
It was also argued that, in the absence of regulatory framework monitoring and overseeing the services of NTS, award of millions of rupees in scholarships was highly risky and the matter required serious consideration as huge funds from national exchequer were dependent on the services rendered by the NTS, GAT has been made mandatory.
The representatives of University of Sargodha, University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences Lahore, Women University Lahore, University of Agricultural Faisalabad, University of Health Sciences Lahore, F.C. College, Lahore, Air University, Islamabad, LUMS, Lahore, Government College University, Faisalabad, Govt. College for Women University, Faisalabad, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, Islamabad, International Islamic University, Islamabad, National Defence University, Islamabad, Lahore School of Economics, G.C. University, Lahore, Virtual University of Pakistan and NFC Institute of Engineering & Technology, Multan, University of Health Sciences, Lahore, NUST, University of Lahore, University of Engineering & Technology, Peshawar, Ahasyn University, Peshawar, University of Education, Lahore, Institute of Management Science Peshawar, National Textile University, Faisalabad, Karahoran Institute University of Islamabad, Mohi-ud-Din Islamic University, AJ&K, Piphah International University, Islamabad, Qarshi University, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Islamabad, Kohat University, University of Central Punjab, Lahore, University of Gujrat, Ali Institute of Engineering, Lahore and Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad appeared before the court.