Students passing O/A level are not happy with Board’s equivalence formula

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—Students having completed ‘O’ and ‘A’ level education have criticized the Inter Board Committee’s (IBC) “equivalence and conversion formula for foreign grades/marks into Pak equivalent marks” demanding the authorities concerned to revise it.
A number of students, Wednesday, approached this scribe and recorded their grievances. They said that around 30 per cent of A-level qualifying students are suffering because of the IBC equivalence and conversion formula. They further said that according to this formula, A-level students’ actual marks are deducted according to the Pakistani equivalent marks by: 10pc on given marks in case of external examination system and 20pc in case of internal examination system.
Calling the formula unfair and unjust the students as well as their parents protested that O/A level system of education is among the best systems of education recognised throughout the world. The students under this system have to solve toughest questions set according to the world best standards. Their papers are evaluated on the same international standards by the Cambridge and other international universities’ professors.
But when they apply for admission to their country’s professional colleges, medical, engineering or any other professional institute, their marks are slashed between 10pc and 30pc under the same equivalence formula set by IBC. They have called this deduction unjust and without any reason as according to this formula 98% marks of a student in the O, A-level examination are reduced 85% making his or her chances of admission bleak.
Similarly, for the entry test they are asked to either appear in the examination set according to old FSc course or new FSc course but no question paper is set according to A-level pattern. Questioning the wisdom of the decision, they asked why these students are not allowed to appear in the question paper set according to A-level pattern.
When the students of the local colleges and institutes are preparing for entry test seeking admission to professional colleges and institutes, A-level students’ future still hangs in balance. They have demanded of the government to first take decision keeping in view A-level students’ grievances then conduct entry tests and begin admissions process in professional institutes. They demanded that for A-level students entry test should be conducted at their convenience. An official of the Board when contacted said the formula was devised in consultation with the principals and teachers of the institutions which are offering O-level/A-level systems and it is based on the ground realities and current education standards.

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