The 131st conference of the Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC) on Wednesday revised the conversion formula for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) O and A Level with effect from academic year 2010, besides agreeing in principal to give two more chances or a year to unsuccessful students at the Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) level to clear their failed papers.
The IBCC – a body of the federal ministry of education whose certificates are binding and applicable across the country – in its two-day moot, which concluded on Wednesday, also deliberated upon the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s (PMDC) eligibility criteria of admission to medical institutions for overseas students particularly with reference to the 45 students who had been admitted to a medical university of Sindh after passing the A Level examination with mathematics, biology and chemistry in violation of the criteria set by the federal ministry of education under its scheme of studies.
The IBCC moot was presided over by its chairman Prof Anwar Ahmed Zai and attended by its secretary, Ramzan Achakzai, the chairmen of all educational boards, including technical and textbook boards of the country, representatives of the federal ministry of education, the Bureau of Curriculum and the controller of examinations of Allama Iqbal Open University and Gilgit University.
Briefing newsmen about the outcome of the meeting, the IBCC chairman said that though the IBCC decided to revise the conversion formula for the GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ level with effect from 2010, it did not agree to use the Percentage Uniform Marks (PUM) by the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) for equivalence as this will be disadvantage to the lower limits of the A and E grades.
Under the revised conversion formula for the GCE O and A level, he said that after the introduction of an A* for O and A level by the CIE & Edexcel, the CIE Letter grade A*, A, B, C, D and E would be equated to the IBCC equivalent marks of 90, 85, 75, 65, 55 and 45, respectively, as against the IBCC’s existing equivalent marks of 90, 80, 70, 60, 50 and 40, respectively.
In this regard, the IBCC pointed out that the CIE would be asked to communicate raw marks in each case concerning the grades awarded to candidates, be rational in awarding grades in relation to their raw marks and stick to the number as agreed to awarding A* to candidates.
Moreover, Edexcel will also introduce A-1/A* grade for O/A levels in 2010 and the IBCC on its part was to ensure that the overall number of candidates receiving these higher grades remains proportionate.
Scheme of studies
Without mentioning the name of a medical university of Karachi which had given admission to some 45 students who had passed their A Level with mathematics, chemistry and biology, the IBCC chief said that the meeting while expressing inability to issue them equivalence certificate for their A level qualification was of the view that they were admitted to the medical university in violation of the federal education ministry’s scheme of studies which inter alia states that “only those who will pass their Intermediate or A level examination with physics, biology and chemistry are eligible to get admission to a medial college or university of the country”.
The IBCC forum, he added, noted that the PMDC or any allied medical college/university shall not determine the equivalence criteria for HSC level in the presence of the IBCC which is authorised by the government of Pakistan. Therefore, the IBCC agreed to impress upon all concerned (federal ministry of education, federal ministry of health, Higher Education Commission, PMDC and chancellor of public sector universities of Sindh) to ensure that such an encroachment by the PMDC, etc, should be discouraged as it was allowing overseas students to get admission in medical institutions of the country without passing the subject of Physics, he added.
The IBCC also expressed its concern that if it issued equivalence certificates to the A level students, it would open a Pandora’s Box as local students who had passed intermediate exams with mathematics, biology and chemistry would also seek similar concessions.
The IBCC forum in the light of the Board of Intermediate Education recent successful experience of getting celebrated the Library Day in its affiliated colleges resolved that all other educational board of the country would be asked to ensure that the colleges affiliated to them also observe the Library Day on Feb 21 each year as such an event would help increase the habit of reading among students.
The IBCC also resolved that the territorial jurisdiction of the respective examining boards should be respected and the Federal Board and other should secure a no-objection certificate from the board concerned prior to affiliating any institution with it as the territorial jurisdiction had also been defined and given in the ordinances of the respective boards.
It also agreed in principle to consider the proposal of according an additional chance or a year to the unsuccessful students at the HSC and SSC level to clear their failed papers in seven attempts, including annual and supplementary examinations as compared to five attempts.
Board of Secondary Education Karachi chairman Anzar Hussain Zaidi and the IBCC Secretary Ramzan Achakzai were also present.