Why protest against composite examinations?

I am sure every one must have noticed the banners around the city protesting against the composite examination for grade nine and ten.

I really wonder what is so unfair in having composite exams, especially when this practice has been carried out for years in Federal board.
I remember taking exams this way and the rattafication (due to pre-board and monthly exams) made us so fluent that we can still recall most of the stuff learned then.
Back in 50’s 60’s too, composite exams were carried out.
I remember how our course was covered one semester before the board exams. The rest whole semester was for revision exams and problem solving for the students. This practice made the basic understanding of subjects better and hence the students bid goodbye to the school with clear and stronger concepts.

I really want to know what fears have made the public raise issues on composite examinations that we see banners hanging in protest on every other road.

32 Comments so far

  1. Sufi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 7:52 pm

    If I was to take exams for ninth & tenth grade together at the end of the 10th year, I know I would start studying only a month before the exams. That way I would have had time to enjoy the whole ninth grade without any tension, that is 12 months, and almost 8-10 months of the tenth grade..

    The American way, you study a few chapters, take exams, do homework assignments, read, quizzes, presentations, all this helps make your grade instead of just your final exam. This way student is on his toe the whole period, because even if he misses 2 of these things or do bad in them, he loses his grade. This makes you a better time manager.

    I would never want to give 12-14 life deciding exams in one go, never.


  2. nycoolest (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 8:27 pm

    chutia idea to have composite exams. we should move towards semester system instead of other way. 2 years study and exam in one shot is unfair to students..


  3. Ahmad (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

    World has abandoned this practice and we are revolving the wheel in opposite direction. Universities are now moving towards semester system, that keep students engage all the time; even some partition it further into shorter periods of 3 months or even 1 month.
    I wonder what is the qualification of education minister Javed Ashraf Qazi? Does anybody has any idea?


  4. tee (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 8:49 pm

    u said it yourself…it makes u all the more better in rattafication and nothing else. What we need to focus is not ‘when’ we give our examz but HOW and WHAt we give the examz on. Sadly, our ministry seems intent on the former part.
    I gave my examz the Cambridge way (which i know is nothing new or big) and we were free to give pprz in whichever session we felt like. that made learning easier and better. here, like Sufi said, students would just sit a month before and rattafy everything and done! Given the state of schooling in the city, i dont think anyone would disagree that GENERALLY our students and teachers alike are not capable of preparing for composite examz. I have my brother in 9th grade and the poor kid is in such a confusion over WHEN would he be giving his examz.


  5. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 8:50 pm

    So finally Unaiza came up with a good post but with a bad idea, anyway doesnt matter its her own thought.

    Karachitte should hastily thwart the federal govt. in this regard.


  6. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 8:53 pm

    I took the composite exam (10th class, Federal Board) separate exams(11th-12th , Karachi Board) , semster system in Pakistan and US.

    I can easily tell you that composite exams are better than separate exams. We had so much time to go via each topic and then we had no tension of finishing course for the sake of completeness. We spend like 3 months on biology chapter of frogs’ heart. It was such detailed orientation that we never had any problem in final exams but then we had only 8 subjects (10 exams, 2 of english and urdu each called as A and B , no sindhi).

    We should go with 10 exams but we should amke it clear ahead that we would be doing that. There should be no confusion for students.

    8 different subjects are not hard, we had 8 from class 1-8 then what is problem in class 9th and 10th. Teachers and students would have enough time to finish course.


  7. UZi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 9:35 pm

    ‘O’ Level, GCE London:
    Course starts: 8th grade.
    Exams: in 10th grade.

    ‘A’ Level, GCE London:
    Course starts: 11th grade.
    Exams: 12th grade.

    For ‘O’ levels, we gave three years’ worth of syllabus k exams in one go. For ‘A’ levels, we gave two years’ k syllabus k exams in one go.

    And these people are crabbing about composite exams for 9th and 10th grade. BAH!


  8. Sufi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

    Uzi, for O levels.. students appear in O-2 for islamiat/pak studies/urdu/statistics.. and in O-3 for their core subjects..

    for A levels, we have AS (advance subsidiary) that is to be given in A-1. A lot of students the complete Mathematics in the first year with a General Paper..

    The point is, its students choice in O/A levels, unlike Matriculation, where no matter what you want you will be asked to take the exams together..

    Stop talking CRAP!


  9. tee (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:05 pm

    @ Uzi
    its not about giving two years worth of course together, its about giving ALL your pprs in one go. In O and A levels we divided the load in June and November sessions plus there was also the AS system.
    So, like the above comment says, it was your CHOICE…not an enforced decision of a govt least concerned with the students’ woes.


  10. MB (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:06 pm

    Composite or separately, IMHO doesn’t matter (as SUFI pointed out too) at all. Following is my humble view after few as a person with few years of teaching experience. Guys, accept my due apology for this long comment.

    There is no doubt about the abundance of talent in our country. That’s one point majority agrees on. So before i continue I salute all those who are worked/working in their areas with dedication & giving Pakistan a proud name starting with the great Abdus Salam & Saleem-uz-Zaman Siddiqi etc. This was necessary to portray that all is not lost but we are not far from it too.

    We are again doing what we have been doing since 1947 i.e. doing theoretical changes. Who ever comes in power teaches us how & what we should learn. What is science & what is religion. Which method is best & which is not. Instead of doing some ground work which i have discussed in detail here what we do is we change uniform. Some one comes and reminds us about Friday not being feasible so we changed it to Sunday. Other comes up with new theory & practical division. Another one tells us what should be included in Islamiat & what not, change examination grading, or superficial rules, changes which are ghosts in darkness. No one it seems knows what it is to be in a school or college these days. One of the reason is because the decision makers are either pre-1977 students or they have no clue about ground realities.

    Currently our students (90%) are infected with “preparing in last 3 months” virus. Believe me or not, it works actually. The current standard & method gives you a chance of preparing in last 3 months using a 64-bit processor (24×7 home) with 4 GB RAM and learn everything, revise every topic, practice properly and come up with an A grade and you can party the rest of 9 months. So why bother going school & learn properly. Composite exam only means this will extend into 5/6 months in two years while the rest of 16/18 months the students will do what they are doing for last 59 years & we are standing nowhere.

    Now let’s be on student’s side for time being. So my question is why they should not go for rattafication? The kitabi logicians will come up with answer like: It’s not the proper way, its not going to make a student understand properly. It would be of no use in real world but hey hold on probably you are wrong. It does pay here in the end if not always. And here is how. Get good marks, get into good college, and get into good university get into good job along will little sifarish, mostly. Chill…Isn’t that the the ground reality with majority.

    But wait what about Dr. Pervaiz Hoodbhoy, Javed Choudhry etc. who keep on crying over the standard of education. The reason is this. The environment that is present currently never lets a mind develop, question, ponder, research & after doing all this pump this knowledge into a practical meaning. I don’t need to humiliate anyone related to education but if you read JC book Zero-Point, especially his columns related to education you feel like committing suicide. And guess what he has started his book with? : A statement that should have been enough for the then head of education to die in a palm full of water. And this statement was by a man who got 1st position in board examinations i.e. JC himself.

    So we are talking about “The environment”?
    Yes that’s the key; the environment needs to be changed. Rules & policy (composite or non composite) is even not one percent of the whole equation. That environment will design & develop minds that will make their own future course & our minister wont need to bother about education. Who are they to decide what a student should learn. Have the educationists gone dead in our country? Where have they disappeared? Let experts decide and then send recommendations to cabinet or anyone accordingly so laws are approved, not those stupid politicians who know nothing, want to know nothing about education. Will they teach us about education who treats their villagers like goats & sheep’s? They ? Those who tie their women inside their houses like servants; we are hoping them to liberate our minds? Didn’t you hear about National Assembly speaker (probably) having occupied a school & has tied his goats & sheep’s there & kicked out the school staff (will post link when available) & the Senate Chairman who asked cabinet (read Musharraf) to have him a 10+ million Mercedes Benz. Please wake up.

    Only educationists or relevant expert should decide what, how & when & who should teach or learn what. But wait again, who is an educationists here. A person who by pure luck got no job & decided to teach in a school or college & after 30 years of experience we started calling him educationists? I personally have been in top school & university but out of hundred teachers that I came across, I can with absolute surety claim that only 5 or 6 were honest, loyal to teaching & had the proper knowledge & skill. The rest were all because they had no other option. And this situation is worst in gov. institutes. The current majority is, in real sense not worth being called a teacher. The value of a teacher in our religion is known to all but we need to set priorities right which should be the environment? What is environment? Why I should send my children to school when I have to pay RS. 500-1000 in fee. I have got 4 kids so I have to pay few thousand in fee, multiplied by 10 years + college fee + university fee which would again be minimum ( around 1 – 6 lack ). In the end you come up with a figure well over 2 million. And even after doing that I have to offer bribe to get my children a job. Why not I invest these millions on a hotel, paan shop or restaurant & make billions in 16-18 years of my children’s education. These are not my words; these are the words of a pathan bhai whom I met at Bath island last year. I was amazed that he was opposing eduction. Ponder deeply on what he said & you would find a bitter but ignored reality. And mind you he was a well off guy; forget the poverty stricken 40 percent population.

    Our own KMB is reflective of our priorities. Just look at the KMB category list. Do you see education or related topic there? (Except Technology, that too with only few post). Isn’t this amazing that in a city of 10.25 million souls we have nothing to speak about education or related topics, don’t come across students, colleges, institutes but do see a latest restaurant miles away & straight away post a topic on it?

    So those who are at the top have no interest or sympathy with education. Their own kids are outside Pakistan. Let the student’s go to hell. The political parties, none of them have any vision on education. They don’t give a shit to education. Just look at their priorities. Not a single, except Tehreek-e-Insaaf (probably), I guess, (that too in words) has got any agenda on education. Hell with composite or non composite exams. Who cares? Who gives a shit?


  11. MB (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:07 pm

    So what is the solution ?

    So above are the ground realities that one should consider. After much of above criticism following points may help in a solution apart from this solution earlier comment I made in Xill-e-Ilahi’s post “what is wrong with the schools in karachi?” Its 4th para and 5th comment from top.

    The first & foremost requirement is removing corruption but since the corruption equation is dependent upon many variables. The first need is to set the variables right. Which are:

    Obvious requirement in increase in school & colleges as they are over crowded. No, not the ghost ones, mind you. This will again require teachers and staff which we don’t have so to cater this we should first do teacher trainings for current teachers along with a gradual but drastic increase in number of school & colleges.

    To provide all necessary “humane” requirements (proper rooms, electricity, water etc.) to these schools which obviously would mean allotting a big sum which only requires will. If our ministers can have Mercedes Benz & Army can have billions for new HQ we sure have enough money to spend. Only will is required. If Musharraf has hundred of hours wasted on tours & inaugurations he definitely had enough time to do these tasks as well. This is for Mansoor only. Hope he got what I wanted to deliver. It’s all the matter of will my dear. We had the will we got KKH & got Nuclear status. It’s will and only will that gets the job done & change nations.

    Anyways, once that is done it will mean completion of phase one. And in phase two we should revise our curriculum by experts who will recommend & the cabinet would take final decision or whatever is agreed upon. That curriculum should definitely include ingredients of research oriented approach. With passage of time this will result in producing minds, to which you can now ask similar difficult questions so this will mean now you should change the examination paper & methodology thus achieving a gradual change in overall environment.

    Then increase in salaries & benefits for teachers and staff. When a cholay wala and a professor in getting same amount in the end what you expect the professor to do. He will opt tuitions. Yes the tuition culture which has brought out education on its knees. Giving extra benefits to teachers, lecturers & professors would definitely ensure a high standard of living for a teacher thus enabling him to concentrate on work & not the food that goes into his and his family’s stomach.

    One that is achieved too, you will have filtered minds & their teachers at school & college level you can explore these genius the subjects of their choice in universities. With similar steps taken at last stage at university level they will sure have enough opportunities to produce results. These results will benefit the industries which will again, seeing the potential of these students will develop their own research institutes thus a cycle of progress will be started changing the destiny of our nation.

    I know it’s not easy & it’s definitely not fast. But if there is will, the above formula which may be wrong as well (or editable) can be a reality in 10-15 years or at most definitely in 20 years. And as we know 25 years is the time period for one generation to grow up. This means we shall have one whole generation ready to put Pakistan among top nations.

    This sounds great but again only hard work by all of us and a strong will, will make it a reality. We have definitely got a strong leader named Musharraf but whether or not he has the will is debate able…

    Thanks for your patience.


  12. Sufi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:10 pm

    there has to be a reason why the students in Punjab literally loathe schools, its composite exams..


  13. MB (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:13 pm

    Apology for spell and grammar mistakes guys.


  14. tee (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

    @MB
    i agree to most of what u’ve said. I would just like to point something out relating to the rattafication part; i don’t think it’s altogether fair to blame the students for relying on rote-learning. My brother gave his examz the Matriculation way, he had excellent english language skills which all his teachers acknowledged and admired. surprisingly, he got the lowest marks in his Board English ppr in his entire batch. One of our relatives, who happens to know the workings of the local exam system well then explained the situation; the person who ‘usually’ gets to check these copies is a not-so-educated person. When he finds things in the ppr going against his ‘standard’ guess book answers he simply crosses them out and no one can challenge that. I am NOT saying k all examiners are the same, but these ppl DO exist. The reason i guess is the pathetic amount paid to a checker per copy ( a few rupees i am told). Who to blame? poora system grass root level se hee kharab hai.


  15. tee (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:28 pm

    I must admit though, MB has really thought on the issue well. But don’t u think the solutions are a bit too idealistic?


  16. MB (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 10:29 pm

    They look idealistic because its all the matter of WILL. If its there its practical else it was/will always be idealistic.


  17. UZi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:03 pm

    Sufi and Tee, I was referring to the GCE (University of London) waala system when I gave my ‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams (in 1999 and 2001, respectively).

    I had 10 subjecs in my O levels, and gave my exams in June 1999 (at the end of 10th grade). In A levels I have three subjects, and gave my exams in 2001 (at the end of 12th grade). I (and most other people in my batch) didnot opt for AS level, but preferred to give all the papers in one go.

    My point is, “composite exams” are not as big a deal as they are touted to be. These people had an hour-long city council session today about the issue. I’ll post the URL for the writeup tomorrow after it has been uploaded to our website. Our politicians (and people who side with them without thinking) need to get a LIFE.


  18. UZi (unregistered) on February 12th, 2007 @ 11:06 pm

    PS: There’s no such thing as a “general paper” in GCE A level, University of London. I had three subjects: Physics, Chemistry and Pure Math. Each has several modules, but the exams were at the end of 12th grade. I hope I’ve made my point clear. JESUS!


  19. MB (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 1:12 am

    @UZI
    We shall be waiting for the URL.


  20. Sufi (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 3:12 am

    uzi, stop fighting :P

    there is GP in U of Cambridge and most students these days give AS in the first year and give the rest in the second, unless of course if they are really party type :P .. they give the whole subjects in A2, get bad grades and repeat :P

    And you are telling abt the A level like u are the only person who has done it here :P tsk tsk..

    mb, I am sorry man. I did not read everything you wrote, its too long.


  21. Darthvader (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 9:03 am

    i would seriously question one’s mental health for not seeing the obvious problems with this composite exam BS . yes , indeed it’s a C….. idea, as NYCOOLEST has put it so effervescently.

    hope everyone is doing well.
    DV

    p.s : i wish someone would put a cork in Rameez Raja ‘s mouth.


  22. MB (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 9:38 am

    @SUFI
    There is a thing called “Reader Attitude” which is badly missing at KMB. Readers don’t read comments properly & it only adds to confusion later on with repeated questions and answers and clarifications.

    See, even O&A level system doesn’t teach this basic reading ethics. What about those sick board system guys & worst , the gov. school & college guys. Thats why i had highlighted in that long lecture i.e. this is crap. It doesn’t matter if we go for composite or separate. Its bullshit to waste time on that question. If the gov. really wants to do something it should do what i have said in that “lecture”.


  23. mansoor (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 12:31 pm

    im in favour of composite exams. They give time to actually go over the material, less tension (and breakdowns) for students, and no need to ‘rush’ through the course just to finish it.

    i’ve gone through it, its not difficult in any way. Most people are just looking for a way out.. this time its composite exams, next they’ll be saying only have 2 subjects in 9th and 2 in matric!

    working HARD is a solution! not finding shortcuts!


  24. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

    Intresting thing most of students who go in institutes like NED,SMC or DOW belong to metric education system. Most of or atleast NED had a lengthy examnation process. When students can get adjusted in universities of Karachi then why not in schools?


  25. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 7:56 pm

    @Darthvader, “i would seriously question one’s mental health for not seeing the obvious problems with this composite exam”

    Ask Mansoor and Poo Poo :)


  26. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 7:58 pm

    @Mansoor and Poo Poo,
    Hey guys dont take it serious I was just kidding, I didnt mean to offend you.


  27. Sufi (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 8:47 pm

    The responses on this forum clearly showed that there should be an option to chose whichever way you like.. For those who like to take them together, should take it together, for others, in bits & pieces :)


  28. KhiTorPit (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 10:40 pm

    Oh come on Sufi dont lie, more ppl are against composite exams. Anyway, the governor has already announced today for the seperate exams of 9th and 10th and very soon the schedule will be published, I guess he has gone through this blogs and then took the decision :).


  29. Saad Durrani (unregistered) on February 13th, 2007 @ 11:34 pm

    Let the exams be separate. Karachi Public School was considered as one of the best schools around. Still, the school gets the worst English marks ever. Composite exams won’t help anyway. Revive the system of education; remove all this shenanigans of Federal Board, Provincial Board or O’Level/Cambridge. There is not a single way of educating people in Pakistan. Degrees from Matric are considered far less-worthy than O’Level ones. Education is turning into a status symbol. Why it can’t be simple? One kind of education for all. For goodness sake, 10th graders are so upset with the new Physics paper. They don’t know what to expect.

    Composite exams may give more time to study but I think 14 papers at a time might burden the student. Separate would be the best possible solution for now, at least.


  30. Sufi (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 12:15 am

    mb, I am sorry I dont know what reader attitude is.

    adnan, that’s because most places have quotas? at least Ned does.. No wonder why my mates party all year round and just study from End of Oct to Early Jan and still manage to ace the university exams at NED.. Zabardast Taaleem Hai

    Come to think of it.. agar yehi karna hai to why not take NED exams every 3 months, 1 saal mein bachelors.. lol.

    talking about one educational system?
    not possible unless everyone pays taxes. I think the system is okay. If you can afford you get the better education, usually O/A levels, even some convents are doing an exceptional job (teaching matriculation). I believe the system is fair. If you cannot afford, well tough luck.

    Isn’t it like this the world over? Unless the PEOPLE pay exceptionally high taxes and we barely pay ANY taxes..

    composite exams = collapse of the education system.


  31. Poo Poo head (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 9:42 am

    You people make me so much disappointed that I can’t express my frustration in words. You people have accepted the slavery; come on my freinds, just use some common sense.First of all comparing semester system at university level to yearly exams at school level does not make any sense.
    Just give a thought and then you would realize your self what is better at school level.When you are a kid, you need more time to practice things, you need more time to perfect it and more time to keep it in memory for ever. Ever guess why we were given maths home work to write tables of 2, 3 every day in school ? Ever guess why 4th class Maths book has lots of almost same LCM/HCF questions at the end ? They want students to do more practice. When you spend more time on same things, you would not forget them ever. When you are kid, the intention is not to get you degree, it is intended that you get perfection in simple things. At university level, some books even do not have any exercises at end for students.
    Comparing western system, they even do not have exams at lower levels, they just promote students to next class as long as one is doing satisfactory class/home work. Then they ask students to take SATs after high school. It is not a rocket science that as kid you need more time to grasp things and you need to repeat it again and again.

    In compsoite exams , I took 4 internal exams in class 9th and then 4 internal exams in 10th and then I appeared for board exams. How could a student of separate exams better than composite exams when he has taken fewer exams(in other words, has repeated less same things). I did same maths questions double as compare to students of separate exams.

    Just use common sense and accept the facts !!!

    P.S. I am not defending composite exams because I took them.


  32. Adnan Siddiqi (unregistered) on February 14th, 2007 @ 10:06 am

    the latest news is that composite exam decision has been cancelled for this year.

    The pathetic thing is that students of 9th grade have been going thru all this. They were not sure about exam now they will have to get prepared for exam asap. I imagine k ager ye sab mere saath hota 9th me tu kitna takleef deh thaa:/



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