ISLAMABAD: Amid ongoing protests by students across Pakistan contesting their Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) AS and A-Level results, Syed Abidi, a prominent career counselor, and education expert, has proposed that educational institutions should voice the concerns of students to the international examination authority.
Abidi put forth this suggestion during an interview on Wednesday, conducted by the “Private TV channel.” He emphasized that not only the students but also the schools held a significant stake when examination results were disclosed.
With over 45,000 students expressing dissatisfaction with the AS and A-Level results released on August 10 by CIE, concerns have arisen due to the utilization of an average points system. This approach stemmed from the cancellation of regular examinations due to the political unrest that swept across the country following the arrest of the former Prime Minister Imran Khan on May 9.
Abidi highlighted the role of schools in the education system, noting, “The schools collect substantial fees from the students and often take pride when a student secures admission to esteemed institutions like Harvard University.”
He further pointed out that Cambridge had offered an alternative to take the examinations in the October/November timeframe in the event of unforeseen disturbances. Abidi proposed that schools should not impose additional charges for this option, instead preparing students by offering separate tuition if required.
Moreover, Abidi advocated for Cambridge to engage in discussions with the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provide clarity on the grading methodology applied to students.
“I am confident that Cambridge collaborates with education ministries globally, and Pakistan’s education ministry is undoubtedly involved as well,” Abidi stated. He urged the parties to convene and devise solutions, suggesting a meeting between Cambridge officials and university vice-chancellors to address issues surrounding student grades. The outcomes of these discussions significantly influence university admissions and scholarship opportunities.
Abidi further indicated that Cambridge had not closed doors for students to challenge their assigned grades. “The marked exam papers are dispatched to students’ homes,” he highlighted, “providing an avenue for students to explore.”
Cambridge International, a distinguished not-for-profit entity linked to the renowned University of Cambridge, holds a prominent position as the largest provider of international education programs and qualifications for individuals aged 3 to 19. The forthcoming release of results from the June 2023 exam series is expected to impact over half a million students worldwide, including more than 100,000 students in Pakistan pursuing IGCSE, O Level, and International AS and A-level qualifications.