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ISLAMABAD: The opposition lawmakers in the National Assembly, on Thursday, lambasted the government for its decision to hold examinations in schools and colleges as per schedule without any delay amid surge in coronavirus cases, saying it is a big question mark on its strategy to deal with the deadly disease.

A calling attention was moved by some opposition lawmakers against holding the exams and with this, rage and anxiety kicked in as some well-educated lawmakers like Ahsan Iqbal of PML-N – who had the opportunity to study in prestigious world renowned schools like Wharton School, Georgetown University and Harvard University, demanded to delay or cancel the exams.

Iqbal said that students had not been taught the syllabus, while equal access to equal quality education was not provided to the students due to Covid-19 pandemic in the country.

He took the plea that it would be injustice to force the students to sit in the exams without teaching them the syllabus.

The PML-N leader continued that the students from rural areas had no access to internet and other facilities like fellow students from the cities, adding the exams should be delayed at least for 45 days or the exams should be cancelled altogether.

The opposition lawmakers also demanded to bring down the entry test merit in medical colleges and other top universities to 85pc given the situation in the country, adding the students could not be burdened with the pressure of the exams as their courses had not been completed.

However, the Parliamentary Secretary for Education, Wajiha Akram Khan, stood her ground and said that exams would take place no matter what.

She said that the decision to hold the exam was not taken in haste as the issue was being deliberated upon since March.

“Now, after threadbare discussion we’ve decided that those exams in three elective subjects will take place at all costs,” she declared.

She said that online classes were being regularly taken by the teachers as there was no lockdown in the country.

Wajiha said that the students who could not take part in the exams will have to appear in supplementary, which will take place in September, but there is no escape from exams.

Raja Pervez Ashraf of Pakistan People’s party (PPP), who is also a former prime minister lambasted the government for ordering the police to baton-charge the protesting students in protest against the exams.

“A large number of students are still behind the bars, and the government should be ashamed of itself…what you want to prove through use of force against the innocent students,” he questioned.

Later, Nasiba Channa of PPP pointed out the quorum, and National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was presiding over the session, adjourned the session till Friday at 11am as the quorum could not be completed.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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