HEC Policy Guidelines Regarding Paper-marking for HEIs

The present guidelines are leading to abuses

In Pakistan, overall 99 Private and 145 Public universities are registered with the Higher Education Commission (HEC). All these universities are following the “Policy Guidelines for Implementation of Uniform Semester System in HEIs of Pakistan”.

Section 11.1 of the guidelines read as “in each semester, students may be required to appear in quizzes, tests, midterms, final examinations, presentations (individual/group), group discussion, and submit projects/assignments/lab reports etc. These assignment marks (to be determined by the teacher concerned) will have different weightage contributing towards the overall assessment in per cent…” Some teachers use this authority and ask the senior students to mark the papers of the juniors and it has happened at Islamia College University and The Islamia University of Bahawalpur according to their enrolled students.

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So, how should a paper be made and marked? It depends on the teacher. To whom should be given grace marks? It also depends on the teacher. Who should be the failure? To a greater extent, it also depends on the teacher.

These guidelines make the male students in general and the female students in particular, vulnerable. Every student needs good marks for their bright future and to get good marks, first, they need to work hard and then they need to have good relations with the teachers. On the very first day when a student gets admission to a university, his seniors advise him to remain calm and keep good relations with his subject teachers to get good grades throughout his degree. In their whole degree, students need to compromise on certain things if they want to have good grades on their papers.

To mark the papers by a third party is a great option we have. The third-party could be of two types. They could be the other teachers of the University with similar expertise to that of the concerned ones and the third party could also be the teachers of the nearby universities. By adopting such a policy, we may save our teachers from such kinds of blame and false allegations; and the students from the blackmailing either discussed or of any other type. It could also make all the higher education institutions  corruption-free

The male students compromise on their manliness and the female students on their chastity, sometimes. They are exposed to sexual assault. As we have some unreported and reported cases from different universities of various intensities. First of all, I want to talk about a case at the University of Gujrat, though the case is unreported and the accused is not proven guilty. On my visit, the students of the University explained the case by saying that an engaged girl and her fiancé had been studying at the University. The girl was blackmailed by her male teacher that if she didn’t agree to his demands; he wold destroy the educational career of her fiancée.

Then, there was a case at The Islamia University of Bahawalpur. According to some students of the University, they revealed, their story. According to them, an ex-HOD was accused by a girl of trying to blackmail her by failing her if she resisted accepting his “offer”. Similarly, two years ago, in a programme of a private TV- channel, a blackmailing case came to the surface from Gomal University. A professor blackmailed a girl of his department and sexually assaulted her. She then revealed that the professor was warning her about failing.

It is because of these guidelines that university students can’t say a word against their teachers even when the teachers are not present. These guidelines bind students to obey and surrender before their teachers. They can’t complain against their subject teacher even if he is not teaching well. And on the other side, the teacher teaches following the method he likes, especially, when the teacher has a permanent job.

Before moving further, I want to include one example here from my own experience. Being a Class Representative (CR), a day ago, I tried to know the views of my class fellows. I asked all of them with the help of the Poll Feature on WhatsApp to cast their votes in favour of the  teacher whose lecture they liked the most. Out of 26, hardly 10 students took part. Most of them cast their votes for more than one teacher and most of the votes went to the teacher who was a member of that group. And when I asked some of the classmates personally who didn’t take part in the polling, why they liked to keep silent. The answer was, “we don’t want to be a failure”.

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On June 3, in a question/answer session of the Senate, Bahramand Tangi, a PPP senator, raised this issue on the floor of the House and asked the federal minister for education to change the policy guidelines. According to him, with the help of these guidelines, teachers might blackmail their students (male/female). The policy guidelines could also lead to financial and moral corruption and favouritism. Moreover, he gave the example of a reported victim student from the Bahauddin Zakaria University. As a solution, he asked the federal minister to include a third party to mark the papers.

To mark the papers by a third party is a great option we have. The third-party could be of two types. They could be the other teachers of the University with similar expertise to that of the concerned ones and the third party could also be the teachers of the nearby universities. By adopting such a policy, we may save our teachers from such kinds of blame and false allegations; and the students from the blackmailing either discussed or of any other type. It could also make all the higher education institutions  corruption-free.

Abdul Salam
Abdul Salam
The writer is a freelance columnist

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