The entire examination department officers of the Board of Secondary Education Karachi (BSEK) have been held responsible for glaring mistakes which resulted in the manipulation of the results of the annual examination of SSC Part -II 2023.

The inquiry committee formed by caretaker Sindh Chief Minister Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar to probe allegation of manipulation in the SSC Part-II 2023 results recommended to probe the said officers’ mala fide intentions through the Anticorruption Establishment (ACE).

The caretaker CM, after receiving the complaints of manipulation in the result of the SSC Part-II Examination 2022-23 by the BSEK, constituted a three-member committee comprising Secretary School Education Dr Shereen Mustafa (Chairperson), Additional Secretary Universities and Boards (U&B) Afshan Rubab, and Zuzain Katbar Section Officer of U&B.

The inquiry committee submitted its report and recommendation to the caretaker chief minister on February 21, which he approved and sent to the chairman of the board to implement as recommended by the committee.

The examination team including the controller, deputy controller, assistant controller, and IT team have been held responsible for glaring mistakes by the committee. The committee has recommended probing their mala fide act through the anti-corruption establishment.

The findings of the inquiry committee are as follows:

The committee during its proceedings, observed that none of the employees, called for a hearing and the statement, was serious which was evident from their written statements.

It’s unclear what the actual exam results were before they were announced, and how many changes were made during the announcement and publication process.

Imran Tariq Butt, the then-acting controller of exams, provided a written statement which only partially served its purpose. The committee requested the actual result CD/USB for comparison, but it was not provided.

The name of Khalid Ehsan, deputy controller, was provided by the chairman showing that he was holding one of the positions that were directly related to the process of the result, but Khalid has also been appointed as one of the members of the internal inquiry committee.

The IT wing/computer wing, which is a linchpin of all subject activities, has been ignored by the BSEK administration due to which all manipulation and management started.

A new result software was introduced in 2023 by Basecamp IT Solution. The students enrolled in the previous year under the previous software, but the new software calculated only the total marks of appeared subjects this year and included them in the gazette.

Further grade grace was also not included in the gazette due to mismatching of two software, which is a glaring act of inefficiency and Board administration completely failed to satisfy on the front.

The board introduced the Optical Mark Recognition (OMR) system for the first time. However, the teachers involved in assessing/checking the answer sheets were not provided with any training, resulting in a significant number of errors. This was a major issue on the part of the BSEK’s office administration.

The committee noted that both the system provider consulting firm and the education board administration were responsible for providing complete hands-on training before implementing such innovative/new systems. However, the administration could not satisfy the committee, as they only identified the issues but did not take necessary steps to prevent them.

It was clear that the execution and maintenance of records for both old and new students/schemes was not being done properly. The complete gazette available did not offer any user-friendly solutions. One could reach a conclusion by asking many questions, and even a student trying to obtain a consolidated marksheet had to approach multiple times.

Fixing responsibly

The entire examination team including the controller, deputy controller, assistant controller, and IT team have been declared responsible for glaring mistakes and their malafide intentions can further be probed through some agencies like ACE establishing the committee categorical in its report.

The committee recommended departmental action against all delinquent officers as mentioned even in the BSEK’s internal inquiry report. The committee complained that none of the officers including the board’s chairman cooperated with them to provide mark sheets, access to information even selected marksheets provided after constant persuasion.

Upon reviewing the various departments of the BSEK involved in the examination, the committee observed that the IT Cell, software consulting firm, and contract administration were particularly weak and do not seem to be efficiently carrying out their responsibilities.

Additionally, it was noted that the staff in the examination branch were casual and careless during inquiries, often resorting to blaming each other, which is highly unprofessional.

The committee said in its report that the board chairman failed to introduce reforms and streamline the old and new streams and compilation publication and overall performance of the board suffered.

Given the above, the caretaker chief minister Sindh in his capacity as controlling authority has approved the recommendations submitted by the inquiry committee.

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