Sindh government’s Department of College Education has issued a new admission policy for first-year intermediate students across the province. The stratagem however features certain unpresented sections that are expected to affect more than 1.5 million students and their parents, with little warning of the changes.
Under the new policy, in addition to the student’s own domicile, the admission process will now also require the parent’s domicile and the student’s certificate of middle-school and primary education.
These points have been included in the Central Admission Policy for the first time. It has also been revealed that if a student fails to furnish the aforementioned documents, he or she will not be able to enroll in the Intermediate Board and will be barred from taking the entrance examinations.
Besides that, in order to ensure attendance of students in the colleges, a new rule imposed as part of the policy dictates that admissions will be revoked for students who remain absent from college for a week without notice, which is expected to increase flailing attendance in Sindh’s colleges.
On the other hand, the College Education Department has also claimed that this time some 20,000 seats are being included for admissions in government colleges in Karachi. Thus, the number of these seats will increase to 140,000.
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However, despite the shift in strategy, the infrastructure of government colleges across Sindh, including Karachi, still exists in dire straits. Under the free and compulsory education policy, colleges have been barred from charging fees from students for five years. There is already a shortage of teachers in colleges while college principals are no longer able to appoint part-time teachers.
Experts believe that in absence of the most fundamental of facilities, Sindh’s colleges will not be able to support the increased student inflow as sanctioned by the latest policy. Whereas, representatives of the College Education Department, while speaking to The Express Tribune, have confirmed that “there will be no enrollment of students who do not meet the requirements of the documents.” Regarding the seats, the College Education Department said that due to the assessment policy, more than two and a half million children are passing matriculation, so an increase in seats was only inevitable.
In terms of the burgeoning inefficacies within the local education sector, it is also worth mentioning that for the first time in the last 21 years, no claim centre is being set up in government colleges in Karachi. Should a student who disagree with the merit list on any ground and wants to issue a claim or take admission in another college under the prescribed merit, then he or she will have little option but to apply online again for admissions.
Whereas, on the other hand, it also appears that the College Education Department holds certain distrust in its own principals. The department has withdrawn the authority from them to personally offer admissions to students into their colleges on basis of merit. Instead, principals of colleges are strictly bound to give admission only those students whose names are included in the merit list who meet the required documents with the relevant new conditions.
In this regard, when The Express Tribune contacted policy makers in the presence of Acting Director General of colleges Rashid Mehr, Assistant Director Rashid Khoso said that if a principal issues a form to a student for admission in the college violating the relevant new guidelines or conditions, then the admission will be immediately revoked. “Hence, the principals are being clearly instructed by the department not to send the enrollment of such students to the board till they fulfill the condition of domicile and primary and middle-school education certificates.”
Speaking further, Rashid Khoso said that “we know that many students will not be able to fulfill these conditions in time so they will be given maximum time till enrollment. However, even at the time of enrollment, if the documents are not provided, enrollment will not take place.”
Explaining the reason for this, he said that nowadays there is already an issue of fake domiciles and with this decision the department hopes to gauge the number of students who are documented residents of Karachi or based outside Sindh. “Students without domiciles have matriculated from here but have passed primary and eighth grade from another city or province. Once the data in this regard comes to us, we will be able to impose quotas of other provinces and cities in colleges like Punjab,” he informed The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 5th, 2021.