SHC asks for Centre’s policy on O/A level exams


Karachi – Staff Reporter:

The Sindh High Court has summoned the federal government’s policy on O and A level exams starting April 26 across the country.

In a hearing on Thursday, the petitioner told the court that Cambridge exams across the world were being taken online or were moved to School Assessed Grades.

“Pakistan is the only country where thousands of students are being called in to sit for the assessments amid a pandemic,” he said. Advocate Jibran Nasir, who first approached the court over the matter, pointed out that exams are starting from April 26.

“The federal government is in charge of making all decisions regarding coronavirus and should clarify its policy on these exams as well.”

Following this, the lawyer for the Cambridge International Assessment said that exam decisions are taken by the provincial governments.

The court has summoned a response into the matter from Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood. The case has been adjourned till April 21.

Students approach court for cancellation of exams

On April 10, Karachi students approached the Sindh High Court to cancel O/A level exams and instead evaluate students through School Assessed Grades.

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

The petition stated that Cambridge should 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.

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.