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December 16, 2019

Sindh High Court assured matric and intermediate curricula will be modernised


December 16, 2019

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the provincial education department to ensure that the modern education system under the 2006 policy is introduced into public-sector educational institutions to provide fair and equal opportunity to all the students regardless of their financial status.

Hearing a case pertaining to the need for introducing modern education and examination system and curbing the copy culture in the province, a single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar observed that non-implementation of the recognised federal government education policy 2006 in Sindh was due to complete ignorance of the issues of students who were getting education in the public sector schools.

The bench observed that studying at public schools may prima facie cost the students their future. The high court directed all the boards of education in Sindh to ensure the revision of the intermediate and secondary schools education syllabus on the same mechanism as done by Punjab and the Aga Khan University Examination Board.

The SHC observed that the difference between syllabi of the public and private educational institutes kept the door open for the affluent class for education anywhere in the world while it shut such a door for the middle and lower-middle classes who undeniably were compelled to get substandard education from the public schools.

The single bench observed that the non-implementation of the federal education policy for the last 13 years in Sindh had admittedly deprived a majority of students of those fruits which would have been available to them had the policy been adopted on time. The court observed that the purpose of the policy’s introduction was to provide a fair and equal opportunity to all the students regardless of their financial position, yet those in authority closed their eyes to the issue perhaps for the reason that they were affording the education of their children in first-tier private schools.

The SHC directed the Sindh Textbook Board chairman, education curriculum director, representatives of the Institute of Business Administration Karachi and Sukkur Institute of Business Administration, and other education officials to ensure modern education in public sector institutions. The high court further directed that an education policy based on Bloom’s taxonomy stages shall be applied to all the public sector universities and sought a compliance report after the issuance of a notification in this regard by the chief secretary within seven days.

The chairmen of the educational boards in Sindh submitted that the national scheme of studies of 2006 shall be adopted in its letter and spirit from the educational year 2020/2021.

The chairmen of the Larkana and Hyderabad education boards submitted that they would introduce an automotive system, which is a computerised system, to curb the menace of cheating in the examinations.

The textbook board chairman submitted that new textbooks for the secondary school certificate (SSC)-I shall be introduced and made available for the academic session 2020 and the textbooks for SSC-II shall be introduced before the start of academic sessions 2021.

Regarding the supervision of examinations, the chairmen of all boards submitted that they had no sufficient funds to independently deal with the problem of ineffective supervision of examinations.

The high court observed that since the invigilation was the sole responsibility of them, they needed to be deal with it by making necessary required arrangements on their own. The SHC also observed that the cheating culture had become widespread and it operated like a mafia system, which was a dire threat to the future of the nation.

The high court directed district and sessions judges to appoint judicial magistrates to conduct surprise visits to examination centres and boards at the time of different stages of examinations to ensure that there was no negligence or irregularities during the invigilation and marking and take appropriate action if they found any.

The bench observed that in case anybody, regardless of their position and power, attempted to cause any influence or interference in the fair examination process, criminal cases be registered against them.

The SHC also directed the colleges secretary, vice chancellors of universities and chief secretary to explain how the introduction of associate degree was in compliance with directives of the Higher Education Commission. The high court also directed the universities secretary to ensure that a disclaimer notice was published in newspapers which shall clarify that the associate degree was not equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and this was only a temporary arrangement and cannot be equated in any manner with the bachelor’s degree that was based on 16-year education.

The court was informed by the universities secretary that it was a serious issue that 25,000 candidates appeared in the test of Sindh University which offered admissions to only 12,000 students, due to which 13,000 students were deprived of admission even if they had qualified just because of shortage of universities.

The SHC observed that the universities secretary shall take up the matter of the need for more varsities before the government. Regarding the occupation of Kali Mori degree college/university hostel by the Rangers, the high court directed the Rangers director general to verify if the claim of the college administration was true and ensure an immediate shifting of the paramilitary force by making alternative arrangements so that the hostel could be handing over to the quarter concerned.