Sindh government will not conduct any exams in 2020

Too much of interest has been given in last one month to the exams and decisions taken by the provincial and federal governments. One of the recent developments suggests that Sindh has announced in a policy statement that there will be no exams from class 1 to 12 across the province and all would be promoted. Sindh’s Education Minister, Saeed Ghani said that decision was made with the agreement of steering committee on education.

However, the decision regarding those students who had failed in more than 40% subjects still remain unanswered. The minister said that they will be given passing marks and shall be promoted into next grades. Furthermore, the students who had failed in matriculation or intermediate exams and want to improve their marks via papers will not be provided any opportunity of such nature in 2020. The same opportunity could be available next year.

Sindh government has made a decision contrary to Federal government as Islamabad decided to conduct a special exam for those candidates who failed in more than 40% subjects. But Sindh will promote all students by grading passing marks rather than conducting any special exam. The students of 10th and 12th classes will be given marks based on previous year with adding 3% marks making their total obtained score. Whereas, 9th and 11th students will be promoted without any marks and their marks of 2020 will be determined using their performance in 2021 with the same formula used in this year.

As far as, conduct of classes are concerned, all institutes are encouraged to start online classes but no one shall be allowed to open their gates as strict actions will be taken all such instances. The institutes shall remain to close as per the orders of all provinces and federal but Sindh’s education minister said that till any further orders, educational institutions shall remain close.

Allama Iqbal Open University announces Admissions to be opened

The exams have been cancelled and universities are in a spot of bother for developing their admissions policy. In spite of such confusion, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has announced that it will accept web based results for granting admissions to the students. The admissions for M.A., M. Sc., M. Ed, B. Ed, BS, B.A, BBA and Associate Degrees have been opened and applicants can apply till 5th June, 2020.

The distant learning universities had already issues web based results and are available to the students through their online portals, whereas, AIOU has taken the step to dispatch the hard form of results to the postal addresses of students. VC AIOU said that their university will take every step for ensuring educational continuity despite the pandemic crisis across the world. However, university has been strictly observing SOPs laid by the government as few of the administrative departments of AIOU are attending offices.

MLIS program launched by AIOU

In wake of pandemic COVID-19, the entire world has taken the online route and in order to manage that, there is a need of few specialists. Hence, there has been a high need of managing online resources and e-library so for that particular reason, Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) has launched Master in Library and Information Sciences (MLIS). The entire world remains in a position of strict or relaxed lockdown, therefore, now interested individuals can study it using an online platform as provided by AIOU.

Read also: Mobile App launched for students in Sindh

The program was announced on the website of the university prior to Eid holidays and now has been publicized in the leading newspaper too. The last date for applying in this program is 5th June, 2020. AIOU said in their policy statement that MLIS will be launched under the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities with an aim to develop the knowledge, skills and qualification of the ones that are already working in the related field.

Read also: Grant for all universities increased by HEC

It is to be noted that Bachelor degree is already being offered by AIOU but now Master degree has also been initiated. There is a high number of Library and Information Sciences graduates that have shown their desire to take admission into Master degree. Number of opportunities for such students are quite less as there are hardly any university which provides a Master degree in related field. Lastly, AIOU has ensured all the interested students that they will receive quality education using the state of the art learning management system of the university.

Mobile App launched for students in Sindh

The two most ministries seen these days, health and education have again taken the lead in launching a mobile application for the students. Sindh’s Education Minister said that they are not in a position to open schools even after the Eid holidays as the cases of corona keep on increasing. Even if the schools are open, it will be useless because parents will not feel safe in sending their children.

Read also : Grant for all universities increased by HEC

As a result of that, an android mobile application has been launched with the joint efforts of School Education Department, Sindh and College Education Department, Sindh. This mobile application will be a platform of distant learning for the students from Kindergarten (KG) to class 5. Keeping in view the regional and cultural dynamics, the application is available in English, Urdu and Sindhi language with same as the method of teaching too. The minister further added that same sort of educational reforms will be implemented through cable operators and FM radio on the same lines of federal government.

Read also: Purpose of Educational Institutes

He concluded the meeting while criticizing the decision of judiciary to open the shopping malls and bazars on the occasion of Eid. The entire world is facing a global health crisis and we are more worried about Eid shopping. Debate continued by adding that provincial government of Sindh strictly abides by the constitutional rights of every institution, therefore, highest court in the country shall be paying attention to its own matters. Now as the shopping malls and one of the major public gathering places are opened, minister urged the authorities to open schools and other higher education institutes too by saying that there is nothing more important than education for a country. Thus, there is no argument now against the opening up of educational institutes.

Grant for all universities increased by HEC

As per official intimation of Higher Education Commission (HEC), grants to all universities has been increased. The grant in the financial year of 2019-2020 were Rs. 64.1 Billion which has now been raised to Rs. 70 Billion for the financial year of 2020-2021. In order to improve the educational environment in the country, a special fund has been arranged for universities in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan amounting Rs. 285 Million.

Read also: Making Distant Learning Effective

Likewise, HEC has also decided to increase its funding for the much needed FATA university. The funds have been raised 3 times higher than the previous year’s funding. In addition to that, HEC has also made the criteria of performance evaluation public which includes number of publications, research grants received, bandwidth utilized, amount spent on conferences and professional travel, number of Ph. D faculty and Ph. D students.

Read also: Purpose of Educational Institutes

Although, in order to streamline its budgetary constraints, HEC has not included the new institutes in it. As a future plan, HEC has requested Prime Minister to allocate an additional fund of Rs. 35 Billion for next year as HEC would require approximately Rs. 105 Billion of amount.

Making Distant Learning Effective

The entire world remained in a moment of awe until one started to get back towards learning avenues. One of the new normal is now online classes across the world. Due to the emergence of COVID – 19 and its persistence in Pakistan too has caused all educational institutes to shift their convention approaches towards distant learning. The governing bodies are also of the view to conduct online examinations for the first time, in addition to that, universities are planning to conduct online entry tests. Nevertheless, few of the primary and secondary schools looking to open up their operations are stressing on the implementation of Social Distancing Protocols. The distant learning has to be coped up well otherwise all the stakeholders will be at a risk of burning out.

Read also: Purpose of Educational Institutes

New normal has to be made effective by all its stakeholders, however, ones in the position of authority are the ones which can have long lasting impacts on distant education. The existing learning system can be made effective by reviewing what has worked, leaving behind what hasn’t worked and then moving forward in a positive direction. The main purpose of distant education shall be to provide best available resources to our students in these challenging times with keeping our well-being checked at the same time. However, the distant learning can be made effective in following ways:

1. Setting Boundaries around the time

Logging into the digital classrooms is just few clicks away but it shall not be a 24/7 service like relaxed working from home lifestyles. This is working harder than ever before and therefore, an effective work-life balance is pivotal for maintain energy and setting a specific timeframe. Adherence to clear and realistic working hours shall be maintained so that students know when to contact with teachers and this will also make students available during a scheduled time. In the free time or off-hours, teachers and students shall also urge themselves to exercise, do things of enjoyment and don’t think about online classes or teaching. It will be better in shifting back to classes with a new energy.

2. Refining the learning platform

Educational institutes shall have one broad base online learning platform in which all the information is available to student under one roof. If a student has to login different platforms each time, it can cause hustle and can be antecedent towards a troublesome situation. HEC has taken the lead in such an effort as it has advised all the Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) to develop their own Learning Management System (LMS) for maximum facilitation of the students.

Read also: Institutions need to facilitate their teachers’ right now

3. Implementation of lean teaching

Teaching is now distant learning, therefore, one has to take smarter approaches rather than goin for the hard work. It can be done in numerous ways by replacing long online teaching videos to concise videos not longer than 30 minutes. Taking feedback from students via an online platform rather than long typing, replacing writing assessments with project based tasks and using peer assessment and self-reflection techniques for the students. Parents can also be engaged in the tasks as they shall be briefed about their importance with regards to distant learning. Institutions shall provide strategies that parents can use for supporting learning from home.

By;
Daniyal Ahmad

The blogger hails from Lahore and has been writing content for various leading platforms since 2015. Education, Current Affairs, Sports and Social Issues are the expertise of blogger. The blogger can be contacted using his email address daniyal.ahmad71@gmail.com

Purpose of Educational Institutes

The schools not only contribute towards the education of an individual but it goes far than that in building students for the future lives. Usually, the first part is categorized as main purpose of education but the latter part is more important in today’s world. The sole purpose of education is seen as increasing human skills only which are often called as job specific skills. One of the economics professor at George Mason University, states that at least 30% of the function of institutions is to only provide education and 70% shall be focused on personality development. Whereas, the research suggests that almost 80% of the attention is being paid to 30% of the function.

In other words, it could be said that the purpose of education is to serve public purpose rather than serving own self-centered concerns as they are centers of social change. One of the researchers had identified the purpose as it is not merely to understand the concepts but it is to challenge those concepts with in-depth understanding. Whereas, education in current landscape has become contradictory to all such views because there is hardly any room for improvisation to students. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that current educational system encages the students rather than facilitating them in liberating themselves. All the societies have different perceptions of educational system, however, one point on which all agree is that it is place where teaching, research and co-curricular activities are accommodated in an organized manner. Education was available only for high social classes prior to World War II.

Read also: Institutions need to facilitate their teachers’ right now

Education in developed countries has taken a complete transformation and that is the only reason of their educational systems being one of the best. The basis purposes of educational system can be divided into following four broad categories:

1. Wisdom and Knowledge

Education is not primarily for enhancing the intellectual level but it is equally important for the training of souls. Institutes of high quality pay equal attention towards morality which helps in not only acquiring knowledge but increases the wisdom of people.

2. Aims of the social order

The educational institutes have a responsibility of enlightening the individuals with the modernized and required concepts of today’s world. Leading educational systems find its guiding principle in the aims of the social order for which it prepares. The value of democracy, justice, liberty, equality and fraternity shall be taught to the individuals in order to preserve freedom and help societies in progressing.

Read also: How to overcome the stress of exam?

3. Love for higher values of life

Students are going to be responsible citizens of the country, therefore, they play a high role towards greatness and success of a country. It is often felt that greatness of a country depends on territory, wealth and communication but that is a false paradise. The greatness lies in love for higher values of life. These high values are taught by institutes including caring attitude for the poor and sufferers, respect for women, faith in brotherhood regardless of any race, caste, creed, color or religion.

4. Training for Leadership

One of the main functions is to train the youth of today in becoming leaders of tomorrow. Students studying in various institutes become an active part of the societies in future and therefore, leadership is needed in profession and public life. Thus, it is the function of higher education institutes in training male and female students for wise leadership positions to take in future.

By;
Daniyal Ahmad

The blogger hails from Lahore and has been writing content for various leading platforms since 2015. Education, Current Affairs, Sports and Social Issues are the expertise of blogger. The blogger can be contacted using his email address daniyal.ahmad71@gmail.com

Institutions need to facilitate their teachers’ right now

The entire world trapped in COVID – 19 has somehow ignored the fact that teachers are also part of this world. Governments of the world and educational bodies within Pakistan have stressed on conduct of online classes but nevertheless, teachers being actively involved and still part of this society are also anxious, overwhelmed and stressed. According to a recent research in US, most of the teachers mentioned five common feelings during the lockdown situation; anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed, and sad. However, the highest ranked feeling was anxiety. The main reasons of such feelings are that some of their family member or even they can contract corona virus. Furthermore, the economic stress over the entire world has also hampered the financial income of the teachers.

On the other end, the institutes are also not in a position to control all this crisis but they along with the civil society can improve their response for the facilitation of teachers.

Read also: Preparing for the Examination Day

Considering Emotions

Teachers are the ones who encourage and motivate their students but there shall be someone to consider the emotions of teachers as well. The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence mentions in their research that teaching is more effective as emotions drive them. The primary reason that why emotions matter for teachers is that attention, memory and learning is associated with it. If there are prolonged stress, anxiety and depression then it can disrupt concentration with interference in thinking of individuals. Emotions has its impact on decision making, relationship and physical well-being as well. Teachers who have more developed emotional skills are more contributive to the performance of organization and report less burnout. Therefore, the institutions need to consider and control the emotions of their teachers by providing them with emotional intelligence trainings.

Read also: Dealing with Stress over Exam Results

Well-Being of Teachers

The teachers are anxious during the current crisis situation, however, the institutes are the ones who can consider most about the well-being of teachers. In a survey conducted globally, teachers were asked that how they would like to feel at school, most of the teachers responded loud and clear. The expected feelings were happy, inspired valued, supported, effective and respected. Institutes need to more sensitive to their teachers’ emotional needs today so that when schools reopen, the teachers recognize the importance of their institutes in their lives. There is huge difference in how teachers are being treated and how they would like to be treated. The concerns of teachers were that they need greater emotional balance. Time to adjust online learning, honesty, respect, kindness, flexibility and patience from school administrators were the responses of teachers. These factors need to be considered by institutes and among the top priority were realistic expectations, and working around the clock.

Read also: Easy Exam Preparation tips for the students

Developing Charter

All the institutes, government and governing bodies are putting stress on developing SOPs for conducting classes and conducting examination. However, there is a need to develop a charter for the teachers and considering their feelings. Charter is a document in which agreed upon terms are briefed in black and white. A charter shall be developed which shall be a living document as it will help the educators during the pandemic. The charter shall include sharing of weekly reflections in which ideas and feelings by the teachers shall be communicated. This will help in developing a positive climate by addressing the concerns of teachers. The time has come when all educational institutes has to address the missing link of adjoining teachers’ concerns.

By;
Daniyal Ahmad

The blogger hails from Lahore and has been writing content for various leading platforms since 2015. Education, Current Affairs, Sports and Social Issues are the expertise of blogger. The blogger can be contacted using his email address daniyal.ahmad71@gmail.com

New proposed formula for promotion of students

The tension continues over the decision of cancellation of all board exams as now the government along with all provinces is looking to devise a formula for promotion of students. The hype is not regarding the cancellation of exams but the promotion of students into next classes.

The schools are happier as the educational process is not hampered rather they are in benefit as they can demand more fees of higher classes but educational boards have raised their concerns as they have highlighted certain issues faced by 10th class and 12th class students respectively. In a recent online meeting conducted by Federal and Provincial Ministries of Education, they are looking to announce a new formula for solving the issues of all educational boards. The final approval shall be made in a grand meeting this week and most possibly its announcement and official implementation shall be made in the coming week. Following is the proposed formula for the promotion of students:

10th Class:

The students which were to appear in the exams of 10th class will be awarded marks based on previous results. The marks in 9th class will be divided with the total marks and then multiplied with 10. The answer will then be added in each subject to facilitate the students by getting more marks as boards are of the view that matriculation students perform better in 10th class as compared to 9th class. The fact is backed with the statistics and figures of last ten years.

Read also: Educational Boards demand a valid promotion policy

12th Class / 2nd Year:

The students of second year which were to become eligible for university programs will also be awarded marks based on an average based formula. All the educational boards are agreed on the fact that students appearing in 2nd year exams perform better in comparison to the 1st year exams. The same trend is observed in theory and practical papers. Therefore, a similar formula is being suggested for 2nd year students in which they will be awarded extra marks by dividing the total obtained marks in 11th with total marks and then multiplied with ten.

However, in the case of improvement and failed cases, the marks shall be calculated based on previous year results and multiplying it with 20. This is being done so that the students can score well and are able to promote themselves in next grade as ministry doesn’t wants to devise a formula in which students are still unable to clear their classes respectively. These all are recommendations put forward by Provincial Education Ministries under the guidance of Federal Ministry of Education, however, the final approval rests with the inter-provincial meeting in the presence of all educational boards.

Once the approval is made, the decision shall be announced in the coming week with all the stakeholders required to implement it in true letter and spirit.

Educational Boards demand a valid promotion policy

A recent announcement by Federal Education Minister has left all the boards in a situation of discomfort as they are not satisfied with government’s decision of promotion policy for the students. In response to that, Education Ministry asked by the boards to send their recommendations so a final policy can be devised. The revised policy was to be announced on Monday but all the boards have demanded an extension to finalize recommendations in their end. There is a confusion among the students especially for promotion cases as educational boards are of different view in comparison to the decision of Education Ministry.

Educational boards have been given a grace time and all recommendations shall be presented in inter-education ministers’ conference, scheduled on Thursday. All the recommendations will be discussed at length before deciding on the policy. The finalized and revisited promotion policy will be announced on Friday. Source of official news was tweet of Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Federal Education Minister. The tweet mentioned that ministry is in coordination with 29 educational boards and will address all the issues arising out of promotion issues. The tweet also mentioned that boards are worried for 20% of the students that either have repetition or improvement cases. Moreover, there are certain private students who had already deposited fees for examination and they neither don’t have any previous results. Such students can lose one important academic year.

Read also: KP might conduct exams in June

Government had eradicated all the confusions regarding the conduct of examinations but students are still confused due to the reservations of educational boards. The press briefing in last week announced cancellation of all exams after building consensus among National Coordination Committee. The decision was to be followed by promotion formula but the students, who were unable to pass in some papers were to repeat the exams in current year. On the other hand, educational boards have presented results to the government by saying that students usually get more marks in 10th and 12th classes respectively, therefore, the promotions based on previous marks isn’t a practical idea.

Sources also confirm the information that students of 9th and 11th class might be given a chance next year to appear in the composite exams. One of the senior officials of concerned ministry said that they don’t want to make any decision in a haste rather they are looking to resolve the issue for once and all. Whatever the decision is made by the ministry, it will have implications on millions of students. The basic issues are already discussed among ministry and Chairmen of all provincial educational boards under the banner of Inter Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC). While talking of the exams by universities, it was said that all the exams of universities will be conducted under the guidelines of Higher Education Commission (HEC).