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Karachi students approach SHC seeking cancellation of O/A level exams

Notices issued to NCOC, education ministry, Cambridge

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Editing & Writing | Muzhira Amin
SAMAA |
Posted: Apr 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 1 month ago
Karachi students approach SHC seeking cancellation of O/A level exams

Photo: Online

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Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir has approached the Sindh High Court to cancel O/A level exams and instead evaluate students through School Assessed Grades. The petition was filed in the court on Friday on behalf of O and A level students across the country. Earlier this month, the government announced that O level exams will begin on May 10, while As and A level assessments will begin on April 26. Opposing this, the petition said that conducting exams poses a threat to thousands of students by exposing them to the risk of contracting coronavirus which is unlawful under the following sections of the Constitution of Pakistan. Section 4: Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with the law, etc Section 8: Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of Fundamental Rights to be void Section 9: Security of personSection 25: Equality of citizens and Right to education "When classes have been suspended for all students from grades one to 12, and inter and matric exams have been moved to the last week of May, why does the government think it’s fit for thousands of O and A level students to attempt physical exams at multiple times and dates," the petition reasoned. It stated that O and A level exams starting April 26 and May 10 should be cancelled. "The board [Cambridge] should instead take up the option of evaluating students through the method of School Assessed Grades." This means that students should be graded on the basis of the online classes and assignments. Nasir said that Cambridge doesn't give the option of conducting online exams. The petition demanded the government responds to questions on the safety of students, invigilators, and staff members at each and every examination centre against the deadly virus. The lawyer told SAMAA Digital that the court had admitted the petition and has issued notices to the NCOC, education ministry, and the Cambridge International Education board. They have been summoned to court on April 15. "April 17 is the last day to switch physical exams to school assessed grades," he added. School Assessed Grades Under this system, the schools will work with the international board and will follow a four-step process to provide each student with their grades. Here's an overview of how that will happen: Cambridge will ask schools to provide an assessed grade based on the level of achievement that each student has demonstrated. To assess this grade, schools will have to identify a portfolio of three substantial pieces of work from each student in every syllabus.Schools will be asked to submit grades to Cambridge International between mid-May and late June. The board will ask schools to share details of the internal quality assurance processes they have followed while collating portfolios of student work, and when submitting assessed grades. Cambridge International will carry out external quality assurance checks on grades. The pieces of work the school will submit as evidence can include mock school exams, assignments, essays, and practical tasks. O/A level students want exams cancelled O/A level students across the country have been protesting against exams and want the international board to cancel the upcoming May/June 2021 assessments. They said that the online classes were not effective and syllabi for most of their courses not yet been completed. All the students protesting against the exams have started a petition addressed to Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood. Here are the reasons they have cited for their demands: Online classes were not up to the standard of education required.Schools struggled with delivering curriculum due to on/off schedules. Students and their parents who contracted the virus found it difficult to cope up with their studies.Hostel students who were forced back home didn’t have a proper environment to study.Most countries have promoted students based on predicted grades.Local boards reduced the exam syllabus or delayed assessments but CIE students didn’t have these options. Other students raised concerns that if they end up with bad grades, which happened with a lot of students last year, it will make it difficult for them to get into their dream universities.
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Activist and lawyer Jibran Nasir has approached the Sindh High Court to cancel O/A level exams and instead evaluate students through School Assessed Grades.

The petition was filed in the court on Friday on behalf of O and A level students across the country.

Earlier this month, the government announced that O level exams will begin on May 10, while As and A level assessments will begin on April 26.

Opposing this, the petition said that conducting exams poses a threat to thousands of students by exposing them to the risk of contracting coronavirus which is unlawful under the following sections of the Constitution of Pakistan.

  • Section 4: Right of individuals to be dealt with in accordance with the law, etc
  • Section 8: Laws inconsistent with or in derogation of Fundamental Rights to be void
  • Section 9: Security of person
  • Section 25: Equality of citizens and Right to education

“When classes have been suspended for all students from grades one to 12, and inter and matric exams have been moved to the last week of May, why does the government think it’s fit for thousands of O and A level students to attempt physical exams at multiple times and dates,” the petition reasoned.

It stated that O and A level exams starting April 26 and May 10 should be cancelled. “The board [Cambridge] should instead take up the option of evaluating students through the method of School Assessed Grades.” This means that students should be graded on the basis of the online classes and assignments.

Nasir said that Cambridge doesn’t give the option of conducting online exams.

The petition demanded the government responds to questions on the safety of students, invigilators, and staff members at each and every examination centre against the deadly virus.

The lawyer told SAMAA Digital that the court had admitted the petition and has issued notices to the NCOC, education ministry, and the Cambridge International Education board. They have been summoned to court on April 15.

“April 17 is the last day to switch physical exams to school assessed grades,” he added.

School Assessed Grades

Under this system, the schools will work with the international board and will follow a four-step process to provide each student with their grades.

Here’s an overview of how that will happen:

  • Cambridge will ask schools to provide an assessed grade based on the level of achievement that each student has demonstrated.
  • To assess this grade, schools will have to identify a portfolio of three substantial pieces of work from each student in every syllabus.
  • Schools will be asked to submit grades to Cambridge International between mid-May and late June.
  • The board will ask schools to share details of the internal quality assurance processes they have followed while collating portfolios of student work, and when submitting assessed grades.
  • Cambridge International will carry out external quality assurance checks on grades.

The pieces of work the school will submit as evidence can include mock school exams, assignments, essays, and practical tasks.

O/A level students want exams cancelled

O/A level students across the country have been protesting against exams and want the international board to cancel the upcoming May/June 2021 assessments.

They said that the online classes were not effective and syllabi for most of their courses not yet been completed.

All the students protesting against the exams have started a petition addressed to Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood. Here are the reasons they have cited for their demands:

  • Online classes were not up to the standard of education required.
  • Schools struggled with delivering curriculum due to on/off schedules.
  • Students and their parents who contracted the virus found it difficult to cope up with their studies.
  • Hostel students who were forced back home didn’t have a proper environment to study.
  • Most countries have promoted students based on predicted grades.
  • Local boards reduced the exam syllabus or delayed assessments but CIE students didn’t have these options.

Other students raised concerns that if they end up with bad grades, which happened with a lot of students last year, it will make it difficult for them to get into their dream universities.

 
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One Comment

  1. Alyia  April 10, 2021 7:43 pm/ Reply

    Please have mercy on thousands of students who have been studying through out and now want to get over with tgeir exams.
    I don’t understand who are these people who are not prepared for the exams yet.

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