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Minister’s call jeopardises Sindh’s academic calendar

KARACHI:

It has been alleged that the start of the new academic session at colleges across Sindh has been delayed owing to certain decisions made by Minister of Universities and Boards Ismail Rahu.
It was per his directives that Secretary Universities and Boards Mansoor Abbas was made to give temporary charge of Larkana Board of Education in Karachi, to a Deputy Controller of grade-18.
The new appointee however, failed to release results of science and arts group timely, causing matriculation scores to be delayed by 18 days compared to last year and two-and-a-half months per the decision of this year’s steering committee.
Owing to which, colleges in the province have been unable to schedule their first-year intermediate intakes, putting the entire academic calendar in jeopardy.
Last year, results of Matriculation Science Group were released on September 21, while results of the Matriculation General Group were released on September 9.
However, steering committee of education department had bound Matriculation Board Karachi to release results within 45 days this year after the completion of the examinations.
Matriculation examinations in Karachi started from July 8, 2021 this year and only Physics and Mathematics papers were conducted in the light of the decision for optional subjects. Practical examinations were also taken a few days after the theoretical papers.
Despite the passing of more than 2.5 months since, the delayed results for matriculation science and general groups have resulted in an extraordinary delay for intermediate first year admissions in colleges across Sindh including Karachi.
 It is unprecedented for Sindh’s students to remain unadmitted in colleges despite passing of first ten days of October. It may be recalled that admissions for first-year intermediate started from September 25 last year.
Moreover, the students who graduate matriculation from the Aga Khan Board of Education also apply for inter-first year admissions which are already subject to matriculation results. The Aga Khan Board of Education announced the results of matriculation about a month ago.
However, students aspiring for admission in government colleges who have matriculated from the Aga Khan Board are also deprived of these admissions.
 Thus, millions of students in Sindh, including Karachi, are being affected by what appears to be a misguided decision by the Minister for Universities and Boards Ismail Rahu, which is also in violation of the court order.
At the intermediate level, the academic future of these students has been put in jeopardy. Due to delay in matriculation results, intermediate first-year admissions will now likely start in November, pushing the start of the academic session to December.
Only a few months after which students will also be expected to appear in their first-year exams; making conclusion of the syllabus a race against time. Addressing the unusual delay, Matriculation Board’s Acting Director of Examinations Zaheer-ud-Din Bhutto, who has been posted on OPS basis, said that many formulas are being applied simultaneously for preparation, which has led to repeated revision of results.
 The acting director added that he himself has also been examining the results of each subject under the formula, which is taking time.
 He further said that only the results of Matric General Group can be announced before October 20, but it will take more time to release the results of Matriculation Sciences.
 It is significant mentioning here that according to a verdict of the Sindh High Court issued early in September, all self-appointed OPS officers were to be removed from the posts which they had appointed themselves on.
 While officers who had been posted on the OPS by the Universities and Boards Department were the only ones saved from dismissal. The said Deputy Controller however, was posted from Larkana to Karachi OPS after the Sindh High Court’s orders, by the Secretary Universities and Board Mansoor Abbas on September 7.
 In this regard, The Express Tribune tried to reach out to the Secretary many a times of his comments on the matter. He eventually responded via a WhatsApp message, claiming the situation to be a hindrance in the way of meeting court orders regarding removal of OPS officers.
“This why the department is not dismissing the officers posted on OPS in the education boards who were appointed by the Universities and Boards Department itself,” he added.
However, Abbas did not respond to or address the questions pertaining the department’s substandard performance, or how the transfer of secretaries of universities and boards is also expected to happen soon; pushing the card for Zubair Pervez take control of the department.
 On the other hand, an attempt was also made to contact the Minister for Universities and Boards Ismail Rahu and the same questions were delivered to him, but the minister chose not to establish any contact with the media.

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