O Level students protest cancelled exams

558843-protest-1370371846-878-640x480ISLAMABAD, June 4: A number of O Level students here on Tuesday protested the cancellation of their Islamiat and Pakistan Studies exams conducted from May 7 to May 15.

The students have been directed to reappear in the papers on June 13 and June 14 after reports of paper leak abroad.

It may be noted that on Monday, the students of O Level were informed by their institutions that the papers of Islamiat I and Pakistan Studies I would be held again on June 13 and Islamiat II and Pakistan Studies II on June 14. The decision was taken because the papers were leaked abroad and there were reports that some of them also reached Karachi.

On Tuesday, a group of students gathered at D-Chowk at about 4pm to protest against the decision. The students were of the view that if the leaked question papers had reached Karachi, students in Islamabad should not be forced to reappear in the exams.

One of the students said it would be very difficult for him to appear in the two exams on two consecutive days.“But I have no choice because my father has deposited Rs32,000 exam fee and I know it was very difficult for him to arrange the amount,” he said.

Another student said the British Council (BC) should make a foolproof system so that no one can breach it. “It is strange that the system has been breached and the students are suffering,” he said.

Aurangzeb, the father of a student, told Dawn: “I have submitted a letter to the office of Joint Secretary Ministry of Capital Administration and Development (CAD) Rafique Tahir and requested him to take notice as CAD is responsible for educational institutions in the federal capital,” he said.

When contacted, Mr Rafique Tahir confirmed that a letter had been submitted to his office by a citizen on Tuesday.

“Although this is a national issue and we do not deal with it, I have referred the letter to the regulatory authority for private schools with an instruction to look into the matter,” he said.

When contacted, Uzma Yousuf, a spokesperson for the Cambridge International Exams (CIE) in Pakistan, said the British Council had concrete evidence that question papers were leaked abroad. There was a possibility that students in Pakistan might have taken advantage of it, so it has been decided to hold the exams again, she added.

“It is impossible to announce the results of the exams held in May just because of the protests by the students. BC has maintained educational standards and it is not possible to compromise on the quality of education,” she said.

Those students who have gone abroad or have genuine reasons will be allowed to sit the exams in November 2013 without charging them any fee. But they have to provide the copies of their travel documents or medical certificates, she said.

In reply to a question, she said according to her estimate about 15,000 students in Pakistan had been affected because of the suspension of the exams.

Source: DAWN
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