A visit to intermediate exam centre for madressah students

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KARACHI: Urdu might not have been a problem, but English certainly was as the HSC part I and II examinations organised by the Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) kicked off on Tuesday.

It was a bit surprising to find the Government College for Men, Nazimabad, among the list of ‘most sensitive centres’ in BIEK list.

“The college isn’t in a sensitive locality or anything but when turned into an exam centre it does change in nature to be listed as ‘sensitive’; you’ll see why,” Mohammad Mansoor, associate professor of commerce at the college told Dawn.

In the corridors turned into examination halls and the classrooms, too, there were only a handful of ‘boys’. The rest were all grown men, many among them wearing prayer caps as they filled their answer sheets, or at least they tried to. “We even have to help these men write their roll numbers on their answer sheets. They don’t even know that. And they are appearing for their English paper but don’t know a word of English,” the professor sadly said.

“Actually, it is not their fault. They are madressah students studying the Alim Fazil course. They are exempted from appearing in so many papers but English, Urdu and Pakistan Studies are compulsory so they do appear for these as private candidates. So here they are,” another college teacher supervising the exams, Ghauri Khan, an associate professor of physics, said.

“I am sure they have received good education in their madressahs but these institutions of religious learning should also think about their compulsory board exams and have teachers to teach them these subjects as well,” the professor said.

“We need good English teachers in our colleges too, what to say about the madressahs then? Frankly, it is the government’s job to give us fine English as well as Urdu teachers, for that matter,” said Naveed Hashmi, the college vice principal.


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