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May 25, 2018

New bill allows another private exam board in Sindh


May 25, 2018

The Sindh Assembly on Thursday passed the Ziauddin University Examination Board Bill 2018 despite strong criticism by the opposition, which termed the piece of legislation an “anti-education” move.

Earlier, after the bill was introduced by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, the opposition demanded that the house should refer it to the standing committee concerned for a thorough review instead of passing it in a hurried manner.

The opposition said the provincial government should not show haste and pass the bill in the dying days of its tenure as the move should be made only after a thorough debate and consultation with the stakeholders. It termed the bill a step against the interests of public education.

Speaking on the bill, Leader of Opposition Khawaja Izharul Hassan of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan said that already three different systems of education were being run in the country, i.e. the regular government system of examination, the Cambridge system and the Aga Khan Examination Board.

He said it was a matter of sheer dismay that the government, instead of bringing uniformity to the examination system and raising the standards of its educational boards, had allowed the establishment of another examination board in the province.

He said the government, by allowing another educational board in the province, had in fact admitted its sheer failure to raise the quality and standard of examinations being conducted by the public sector examination board.

The opposition leader feared that the government in future would compel the students of government colleges to get enroll with the new examination board and also motivate the colleges themselves to get affiliated with it.

He said the government should convince him about the urgency it had been showing in adopting the bill paving the way for establishing another examination board in the province, that too in the private sector.

It seemed that the government had no interest in raising the standard of the existing examination boards in the private sector and instead it had been relying on the private sector to impart education and conduct examinations for school and college students, he added.

Hassan was of the view that the establishment of a private sector examination board showed sheer antagonism of the government towards the public education sector. “The move of establishing this board is tantamount to giving the examination system on a lease basis to the private sector.”

He said that in case the government had made up its mind that it could not improve the

working of the public sector educational boards in the province, the task should be given to the opposition as it could do the job in the most able manner with the support of non-governmental organisations.

He claimed that the opposition once given the task to run the public sector educational boards would double the enrollment of candidates at these boards within the span of a few years. Another MQM MPA, Faisal Ali Sabzwari, said it seemed the new examination board was being established to politically bribe some influential person in the province. He said the establishment of the board seemed more a politically motivated move than a step in the interest of education.

He asked that the government should inform the house about in what manner the establishment of the new examination board would be helpful in overcoming major menaces of the education system in the province, especially the unchecked use of unfair means by candidates during examinations.

Samar Ali Khan, an MPA of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said the government should strive to bring uniformity to the examination and education system in the province so as to raise the quality of education being imparted to the students enrolled in the government-run schools and colleges.

Responding to the reservations of the opposition, the parliamentary affairs minister said that there was no harm in passing the bill to create an examination board in the private sector when another private examination board already existed in the country.

He said the government had been allowing the establishment of universities and examination boards in the private sector in order to promote quality school, college and university level education so that a greater number of students had access to the prospects of gaining a standardised education.

He said it had become quite difficult for the public sector examination boards in the province to accommodate the ever- increasing number of candidates keeping in view the increase in the population and a large number of students getting admissions to schools and colleges.

More bills adopted

The provincial legislature also adopted the Sindh Coastal Development Authority (Amendment) Bill 2018, the Government College University Hyderabad (Amendment) Bill 2018; the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Human Resource Research and Development Board (Amendment) Bill 2018.

The assembly again passed the following three bills as they had been returned to the house by the governor for reconsideration: the Begum Nusrat Bhutto Women University Sukkur Bill 2018; Shaikh Ayaz University Shikarpur Bill 2018; and the Sindh Regularisation of Contract Employees of Khairpur Medical College Khairpur Bill 2018.

Social media ‘trial’

Earlier, Speaker Sindh Assembly Agha Siraj Khan Durrani informed the house that those doing propaganda and spreading fake news against him on social media would ultimately fail in their evil designs.

He was referring to a video clip which spread on social media the other day as it purportedly showed a raid by NAB officials on his residence in which gold ornaments and other valuables were seized. NAB later clarified that it didn’t conduct any raid on the residence of the speaker.

He said gold was not recovered from his house in any raid and the relevant institutions should investigate to ascertain how such a fake video clip had spread on social media to malign him. The speaker said that such attempts to tarnish his and his family’s image had been continuing for the past many decades, but to no avail.

He thanked the media and concerned members of the house who raised voice against the baseless propaganda against him. Meanwhile, the house admitted an adjournment motion of PTI lawmaker Khurrum Sher Zaman on the issue of power loadshedding in Karachi. The house will hold a discussion on the adjournment motion on Friday (today).

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