By Javed Iqbal
LAHORE: The Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) is all set to change the age-old evaluation system of school and college exams after the competent authority approves the proposal, The Business has learnt.
If the competent authority nodded, the running marks system will be shifted from marks to relative grading. Initially both marks and grades may go together. It is an initiative of the Higher Education Minister Raja Yasir Hamayun Sarfaraz to discourage the rot learning. So, he desired to change the assessment mechanism, official sources said on Tuesday.
The Minister has had many brainstorming sessions with different people, including the Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education, educationists and other stakeholders. The same issue was also discussed in the inter-boards committee meeting. Initially, only the marks system will be changed and the same will be reflected in the result cards. However, all the evaluation and teaching techniques will be shifted to the new system gradually as the world at large has been practicing now.
The Minister, who is foreign qualified, had received complaints about existing examination and evaluation system which mostly serves to the rot-method of learning. The leading institutions of the world have already adopted the percentile instead of percentage in the results of the students.
A senior executive of the Lahore board told this scribe that many meetings had been held on the subject matter. He said that the academy mafia, the race of obtaining maximum marks, using unfair means and use of money to get maximum credit in the practical examinations were the hallmarks of the existing system. The running criteria mode could not measure the intellectual ken of the students, he criticised.
There were examples that a student got full marks in the practical exam while he failed in the theoretical or subjective paper. There was another example of a student who obtained 504 out of 505 marks and applied in the board for remarking his papers. He challenged the board evaluation system as why one number was deducted.
In a nutshell, the education and evaluation systems are not knowledge-based rather rot-learning based.
Since the PTI took over government, it has been considering introducing a new education system as it had promised in the election campaign. The introduction of relative grading and replacing numbers in examinations is just a step towards it. A senior university teacher Dr Iftikhar Ahmad while lauding the HED Minister initiative said the change in the system will surely eliminate the cramming approach and promote analytical skills.
He said that there were some irregularities in the award mechanism. Practical exams were vulnerable to the education mafia and the rich elite, he complained. He said, if implemented, the education system would be revolutionalised. It would be a first stroke on Lord Macaulay’s designed education system for a slave Indian nation. Both the school and higher education departments should better start debate on it.
Moreover, the teachers community and parents should also be consulted.