MPs call for panel to address entry test complaints
KABUL (PAN): The higher education minister and deputy education minister on Tuesday failed to satisfy Wolesi Jirga members on the issue of a high number of students failing last week’s university entrance test. The house called for the creation of a commission to address student complaints.
As many as 40,000 of 147,000 candidates were declared successful in the test, with the education ministry promising that another 70,000 students would also be enrolled in semi-higher education institutes.
Amid claims of irregularities in the exams, the Wolesi Jirga urged an increase in the number of students to be given admissions to higher education institutes.
Higher Education Minister Obaidullah Obaid and Deputy Education Minister Mohammad Asif Nang appeared before the lower house on Tuesday, a day after a majority of lawmakers barred deputy ministers from briefing them on the issue.
Obaid told MPs up to 34,000 students were to be enrolled in higher education institutes, but their number had been increased to 40,000. "As complaints from students grow, the ministry has started efforts to create a commission to investigate the complaints," he added.
The minister said they had held a meeting with officials of private education institutes to absorb more students this year. Private sector education officials have agreed to grant admissions to 700 students free of cost and give another 12,000 a 50 percent fee remission.
Asif Nang said his ministry had the capacity of enrolling 30,000 students in semi-higher education institutes, but the number had been increased to 70,000 this year. Marks sufficient for admission to a higher education institute in big provinces are 240 and in small provinces 200.
A legislator from Nangarhar, Amir Khan Yar, slamming the entry test as unfair, said the system should be dissolved. “Up to 9,000 students from Nangarhar participated in the test, but only 1650 of them made their way to higher education institutes.
“On the other hand, 99 percent of students who took the exam at Abdur Rahim Shahid School in Kabul were awarded admissions,” the parliamentarian claimed.
Another legislator, Mohammad Younus Qanuni, suggested universities in provinces should start evening classes to accommodate more students. “Under the relevant law, failed students should be enrolled in private institutes," he pointed out.
A majority of MPs said they were not satisfied with the briefings from the officials and demanded the creation of a commission to address the issue. First Deputy Speaker Abdul Zahir Qadir said most MPs were unhappy with outcome of the test and their concerns should be addressed.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.