FBISE announces new composite matric exam system
Putting quality over quantity
* SSC exams from 2007 will have 30% MCQs, 50% short-answer and 20% subjective questions
* New system designed along the lines of Edexcel International’s model
The Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE), on Monday, announced that it would introduce a new pattern of examinations based on the system used by Edexcel International, UK for the Matriculation or Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations from the year 2007.
Under the new system, the existing single-sheet question papers will be replaced with 15 to 20-page ones. The question papers will be framed so that 30 percent of the questions would be multiple-choice questions (MCQs), 50 percent would be short-answer questions, while 20 percent of the questions would test candidates on the application of their knowledge of their respective subjects.
FBISE Chairman Air Commodore (r) Muhammad Sharif Shamshad told reporters that under the new system, the next SSC exams would be on a composite basis, with 85 percent marks for theory and 15 percent marks for practical tests.
He said that the system was being introduced as a pilot project by the FBISE, and would later be implemented by other boards of the country. He said that this decision was taken following an inter-ministerial meeting, held in Karachi in December 2005, which decided (in principle) to replace the out-dated and sub-standard system of education that is based on rote-learning and suppresses the actual talents of the students.
Shamshad said that the FBISE’s affiliated directorates, including the Federal Directorate of Education, the OPF Directorate of Education Cantonment, the Garrison School’s directorate along with Army, Navy, Air Force and overseas schools attached with Pakistani embassies had been provided with the new model papers. Teachers will be trained for the new system at all schools, for which FBISE would provide 50 percent of the funding and resources, he said.
Edexel, the UK-based examination body, conducted a six-month training programme for the federal board’s paper-setters, and similar training will also be provided to teachers in federal board schools so that they could prepare students for the new system, which would be more analytical rather than quantitative.
He said that the question papers prepared for the board’s exams in the past offered a relatively wide scope for choice, which adversely affected the students’ critical faculties by allowing for selective study, which allowed even average students to score at par with those who studied diligently.
Through a process of gradual, rather than abrupt change, the quality and standard of the SSC exams would be enhanced to provide the students with a platform and sound-footing for pursuit of their professional studies and examinations comparable to students of the O and A-level system, Shamshad said, adding that the board planned to introduce a system along similar lines for the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) exams by 2009. He said that the board has prepared detailed plans for overhauling the examinations of all the subjects at the SSC level, which included study scheme, the syllabus with emphasis on achieving the objectives of the National Curriculum, model question papers based on comprehensive assessment strategies and guidelines for teachers and students.
He said that the reforms and innovations in the system of examination would help arrest the decline in standard of education in the country, adding that the learning process would now be centred on satisfying the natural curiosity of the students and disciplining them in the application of their own ingenuity and skills, with emphasis on pursuing the right questions rather than securing the right answers.