The decision will be implemented immediately and 2004’s annual exams will be held in accordance with the new system.
The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting organized to review part-wise scheme of subjects at the secondary school certificate (SSC) level.
The meeting also decided to review the curriculum after every five years. Not a word of any textbook already introduced after approval will be allowed during this period, the meeting decided.
The Text Book Board, Punjab, was also reprimanded for failing to ensure availability of books in the market.
Education Minister Zobaida Jalal presided over the meeting, which was also attended by education secretary, Tariq Farook, chairmen of education boards and textbook boards, school and college principals, parents and students.
Now the students of Class 9 will study English-I, Urdu-I, Islamiyat/ Ethics, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology/ Computer Science/One Technical Subject, half in Class 9 and half in class 10, instead of reading English-I, Urdu-I, Islamiyat/ Ethics, Chemistry, Biology/ Computer Science/One Technical Subject.
The decision was arrived at after most teachers, parents and students said by not studying a particular subject for one year left students in a sort of vacuum. It was also not possible to cover the two-year course in one year, especially in science, mathematics, computer science and general science.
Earlier, the Inter Board Committee of Chairman (IBCC) had introduced examination reforms package in 2001 under which part-wise exams system was introduced.
On shortage of textbooks in Punjab, Zobaida Jalal said “we should accept that we made a mistake, and we should not be afraid of rectifying it.”
“The students have suffered a lot, and we should find where the fault lies. We have weaknesses and capacity problems which resulted in failure to plan for the future,” the minister said.
Instead of blaming others, the textbook board should have planned its strategy well in advance, and ascertained the books demand, she said.
The textbook board even failed to inform other publishers with whom it was in contract to print books in keeping with the required number.
When the board chairman informed the audience that the it has printed 36.4 million books this year, 4.2 million books more than the previous year’s demand, the minister said books of both the primary and elementary courses were still in short supply.
When the chairman complained that the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education never informed about how many books they needed, the minister said nobody was getting books for free. These should be made available promptly.
She also asked the boards to sit down and decide whether the books of National Institute of Science and Technical Education need to be prescribed or those of the Punjab Text Book Board’s.
She however said the books of the NISTE could be purchased since the curriculum was the same.
The minister also dispelled the impression that the deregulation of printing books was done to close down the textbook boards, saying the purpose was to induce competition.
“Nobody would purchase the books of multinationals if the local company produced cheap and quality books,” she said.
The minister admitted that the books provided by the Punjab textbook board were full of errors and mistakes, but said they had assured that the new books would be error-free.
She recalled that the Printing Press of Pakistan had offered to share the burden and provide books within a week.
The minister also directed that the curriculum be put on the website so that proposals from academicians, educationist and private sector could be received.
“I would like to see these decisions implemented in letter and spirit,” the minister said.
Secretary Education Tariq Farooq asked the textbook boards of Balochistan, the NWFP and Sindh to print books based on the revised curriculum of class 5 to 8 because the project was funded by the ADB which was also monitoring the project.
He said the ADB had raised serious objections on the delay and had set a new deadline of June 30 and if the books were not made available, it would create problems in the implementation of the loan agreement.
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