Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad had advertised and opened up their new intake in the previous month. The deadline for applications into various programs was till the end of July, 2020. However, due to the global pandemic situation across the world, educational institutes and students too have been coping with the online education. In order to facilitate students, the admissions deadline has been extended.
A recent press release issued by the university states that for facilitating and accommodating some of the students who were unable to apply in time, the deadline has been extended. Few more days have been added and now students interested to study in Quaid-e-Azam University can apply till 3rd August, 2020. It is important to note that this deadline has also been extended owing to the possibility of matric and intermediate results. The deadline has been increased for all undergraduate programs of the university. Students have to apply online as entire processes of education are being automated due to covid-19. Applications can be sent to university through their official website.
Where the entire globe learns to cope with the pandemic, educational sector of Pakistan has been working on trial and error method. While most of this is being observed in Sindh of late as recently, Sindh government have cancelled their own notification of MDCAT to be conducted by Peoples University of Medical and Health Sciences for Women (PUMHS) for all the medical colleges. This decision was taken in the wake of corona virus as minimum number of institutes will open and one of the experienced institute can conduct exams for all. However, a detailed plan was to be followed for answering various key elements.
Moreover, this notification was issued by Health Ministry rather than the Education Ministry but was later on, endorsed by them as well. The decision faced a lot of criticism by political figures, students and even some of the institutes stating that the competition of medical colleges is fierce and how can one medical college conduct exams for all others. All the MBBS and BDS entrance tests were handed over to PUMHS. Another criticism faced by this notification was that urban students will be unduly favored in this with ignoring a major portion of students coming from rural and interior Sindh. However, the notification has been revoked of now and the admissions policy has also been revoked to its status-quo. All medical and dental colleges are independent for conducting its own entry tests and having their own admissions policy. But what will be its implications and are they really in a position to conduct entrance tests is a question to answer with time.
All the private and public sector colleges are advised by the Educational Ministry and Education Department of Punjab that no student shall be granted an admission into 1st year on the basis of 9th class result. Earlier announcement by the government in the month of May and June ensured that students will be able to get admissions on the basis of marks in 9th class but the same statement is suspended for the time being. Punjab government has made it clear that until the results of matric are not declared, no student will be allowed to take an admission in any of the colleges.
The notification suggesting this information was shared with all educational institutes on Wednesday which clearly stated that admissions shall be granted only after the results of matric are declared. Admissions schedule can only be released by colleges after Punjab board declares the result for current year. In addition to that, all those colleges violating the notification will result in legal action against them.
As per recent meeting of inter-provincial educational ministers, the opening up of educational institutes was decided. However, the date of opening up of schools was announced to be 15th September, 2020. The decision was unanimously agreed by federal and provincial ministers but the final approval was rested with National Coordination Committee (NCC). A special representative of Ministry of National Health Services was also present in the meeting which was made responsible for obtaining an approval from Health Ministry.
Sources say that various proposals have been discussed previously for the opening up of schools, hence, finally, one of those decisions have been taken which was mutually agreed by all. SOPs were also developed by provincial governments, federal government and schools’ association so that it is in compliance with global health standards with leaving out no other unattended matter.
The exams of 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th classes are already decided as per federal government’s decision but as far as other professional exams are concerned, they will be conducted under strict SOPs. All exams will be conducted by ensuring social distancing with wearing of gloves, face masks and sanitizers. However, another interprovincial meeting will be conducted in the first week of September, 2020. Overall situation will be assessed in the first two weeks and then the final decision shall be taken. Another point highlighted by provincial ministers of Punjab and Sindh were related to grants and financing of educational institutes. They stressed on helping the public and even private institutes by giving interest free loans as closure of institutes can lead them towards bankruptcy. It is high time that all educational institutes should now be opened.
Institute of Business Administration in Karachi announced admissions in various Bachelor, Master and PhD programs. However, they have changed the admission criteria with replacing admission test with an interview assessment. Admission Tests were scheduled on 19th July, 2020 and 26th July, 2020 but candidates will now be assessed and granted an admission based on an interview.
The interview panel will be a standardized panel based on recommendations of the admissions committee. However, the final decision rests with academic council and Executive Director of IBA Karachi. These changes have been made in the wake of deadly virus as mass gathering in admission tests can spread the disease to an unprecedented level. IBA’s Executive Director had previously stated that they will take up all the needed actions for continuing the academic activities, such as, online classes, online admissions and now an alternative assessment criterion. The dates for interviews will be declared soon.
All colleges working under the control of Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) have started online classes from 7th July. All the other institutes including universities and colleges are already imparting online classes. However, FDE has now taken the decision to start online classes. Students welcomed this decision but teachers had registered their concerns. Education Minister also supported the decision but none of the institutes had done any arrangements in this regard.
Teachers are resenting this decision because they have been citing the lack of resources and capacity for imparting online classes. Training to teachers has not been given and now all of a sudden switching from whiteboard towards online platform is a daunting challenge. One of the biggest challenges is access to internet connection, uninterrupted power outages, and access to a laptop or PC. Rather than shifting to teach online classes, teachers suggested that colleges can record lectures and share with the students and they can ask questions on WhatsApp.
Due to an overall increase and demand on a global level, IBA Karachi has announced the initiation of MS Data Sciences program. The degree will be for a period of 2 years with 4 semesters and 30 credit hours. This MS program will be leading to PhD Program if the students wish to opt thesis alongside course work.
The interesting thing is that even students from non-computer sciences background will be able to apply for the program. Courses of the program are designed by Faculty of Computer Sciences of IBA, Karachi. Chairperson of Computer Sciences has said that courses have been prepared in a manner that will help the students to learn basic skills and offer a clear understanding of the complex concepts, such as, data visualization, machine learning, big data analytics and data ethics. Furthermore, Dr. Zaidi, Executive Director of IBA had also commented on the program launch that advancement in the field of technology is pleasant and IBA will keep on bringing such programs in future. Nevertheless, the admission for Fall 2020 are also opened including MS Data Sciences.
Current government has been advocating the uniformity of syllabus across all provinces from Day 1. Recently, Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training is in the process of designing a uniform syllabus but Government of Sindh has rejected the adoption of uniform syllabus. Sindh’s Chief Minister and Education Minister has said that this is the jurisdiction of provincial government after 18th amendment.
This decision of rejecting uniform syllabus was taken in the recent meeting of education department. Education Minister said that the syllabi which federal government is developing is different from one implemented in Sindh. CM also added that syllabus in Sindh is better than what federal government is planning. In order to answer Federal Government, CM has advised Education Minister to draw a comparative analysis between the syllabi and present a report to him.
National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) has been in the news for numerous good reasons. They were ranked in the QS Rankings among the top 500 universities of the world and were recently included in top 50 young universities of the world. To all that good news are certain professional reasons and one of the reason of such professionalism is the bodies operating within the university. On Friday, NUST’s new alumni association has taken oath for their duties to begin.
Due to spread of deadly virus and closure of institutes, an online ceremony was arranged in which 97 members were present. The ceremony was headed by Registrar of NUST, whereas, Rector and Chairman of Alumni Association were also included in the online ceremony. Alumni, who were interested in becoming a part of the association had applied in the month of February and elections took place in the last month with results being declared last week. The oath ceremony included the remarks of Rector, Registrar and Chairman of Alumni Association.
One of the education system which is studied in private schools of Pakistan is Cambridge stream in which students qualify for O Levels and A Levels rather than Matriculation and Intermediate. At the time of applying into Pakistani institutes, they need to get an equivalence certificate from Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC). The committee had been deducting 15% marks of all such students as a permanent rule, however, the rule has been suspended for the time being in order to give relief to Pakistani students studying in various institutes across the country.
The students had already faced trouble in the Cambridge exams of 2020, therefore, in order to safeguard their marks; this decision has been taken by IBCC. In the previous week, Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) announced the cancellation of all Cambridge exams which were scheduled in the month of May and June. Later on, same institute passed a decision that students will be awarded marks on a 4 step process using evidence provided by schools.
After the announcement of such relief decision for the students of O Levels and A Levels, IBCC has asked all international examination conducting bodies to furnish the results of all Pakistani students for last 3 years. The decision has been communicated to CAIE, American System of Education (ASE) and International Baccalaureate (IB). This is being done to ensure transparency while awarding the marks, while IBCC said that this decision has been taken only for the exams of June, 2020.