Leak of class 8 question paper or mere rumors?
Over one million candidates appearing in class 8th examination held under Punjab Examination Commission (PEC) had to suffer across the province when the Commission announced cancellation of their last paper that is the paper of mathematics at the eleventh hour on Friday.
There were rumors that the last paper, Mathematics, was leaked on the night between Thursday and Friday and in the morning the PEC instead of ensuring that the candidates were provided with substitute question paper simply cancelled the paper.
uninformed of the reports, the students, many accompanied by their parents, reached their respective examination centers on Friday morning and to their sheer surprise, they came to know the paper had been cancelled.
At many centers of the provincial metropolis, even the examination staff was uninformed of the cancellation of the paper and forced the parents to leave their kids to sit for the exam. This led to distasteful situation and exchange of harsh words at many centers.
It is relevant to mention here that recently a disagreement had exploded over grade-V examination of the PEC after reports emerged regarding leakage of question paper of English on Feb 10. The PEC had replaced the question paper following reports of leakage of the paper and the exam was not cancelled.
Reacting to the situation, different teacher associations criticized the PEC management and termed the cancellation of the paper on Friday sheer disorganization on part of PEC.
Senior Staff Association (SSA) of government schoolteachers and Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) termed it PEC’s failure in conducting examination on uniform basis across the province.
Senior Staff Association (SSA) President Hafiz Abdul Nasir demanded the Punjab chief minister order inquiry keen on the leakage of question paper and take stern action against those responsible. He said the government always took action against teachers for their inefficiency but never took action against system of government even for its blunders like the PEC episode.
Hafiz Abdul Nasir said that instead of uniform examination under PEC, the Punjab government should set up Elementary Examination Boards at division level across the province on the pattern of traditional examination boards of secondary and intermediate level education. He said results of PEC exams had always been doubtful ever since inauguration of the Commission.
PTU President Sajjad Akbar Kazmi and other office bearers, including Rana Liaquat, said leakage of grade-VIII question paper was failure on part of PEC management which defamed not just the Punjab School Education Department but also the Punjab government. They said PEC utilized funds of millions of rupees but failed to hold transparent examination. They demanded the Chief Minister take action against the PEC high-ups for their inefficiency. Meanwhile, the students and their parents remained confused as to when the paper would be held while the PEC management also remained unable to make up your mind in this regard till the filing of this report.
Sources in the PEC also claimed that the Commission might not arrange the cancelled paper and instead award average passing marks to the students.
But the Operation Manager at PEC Afshan Zafar said that the paper would be held, adding the date was yet to be finalized in this regard.
She also claimed that by cancelling the paper, PEC in fact saved students from doubt in the wake of rumors about the leakage of the question paper.
Afshan Zafar said so far it was not confirmed whether the paper was leaked or not, adding the PEC organization taking notice of the rumors cancelled the exam in the best attention of the candidates.