Entry test complaints being probed: Obaid
KABUL (Pajhwok): Higher Education Minister Obaidullah Obaid on Sunday said an investigation into objections raised against irregularities during the university entrance test last fall had been opened.
Obaid, who appeared before the Meshrano Jirga or the upper house along with Education Minister Farooq Wardak, told lawmakers the exam had been good in overall, except some minor instances.
He was responding to criticism from lawmakers who claimed the exam had not been transparent and some female examinees had been introduced to universities in insecure provinces.
Obaid said such complaints were being investigated and efforts were being made to address them. “The exam was good in overall and a balanced one and the outcome is also transparent,” said Obaid.
The minister said the process to register complaints against the conduct of the exams had begun 10 days ago and would last another five days in Kabul and provinces.
“We have introduced three types of complaint forms --- white, orange and yellow. The white forms are filled out by candidates who are not satisfied with their results, the orange by those not happy with the selection of halls and the yellow by those whose names are missing from the website.”
These forms were collected every weekend (Thursday) from the offices concerned and checked if any serious problems had been mentioned, the minister said.
Obaid said a number of female examinees had deliberately chosen insecure provinces in order to apply for migration later on to Kabul or other leading universities.
He said students could not transfer themselves to Kabul from provinces as per his ministry’s decision that allowed migrations from Kabul to provinces.
Obaid said 261,000 high school graduates took the entrance last fall, with 57,000 finding their way to public sector higher educational institutes and 37,000 to private sector varsities, where they were absorbed with a discount in fee.
He said his ministry had promised enrolling another 100,000 successful candidates to semi-higher educational institutes.
Obaid said it was for the first time in Afghanistan’s history that such a huge number of students were admitted to higher educational institutes.
Education Minister Farooq Wardak was asked questions by the upper house members regarding low salaries to teachers and poor quality education at the privately-owned schools.
Wardak said currently 11.5 million children, with girls constituting 42 percent of them, were taught at 17600 schools across the county. He said only 300 schools had been shut due to insecurity and other factors.
About low salaries of teachers, he said his ministry had proposed 18 percent in the annual national budget, but the parliament approved 11 percent, which he said was insufficient.
“All our activities are based on the budget. If an issue arises due the lack of budget, the responsibility goes to the national assembly,” he said.
“When you say the quality of education in the private sector institutes is low then why you send your children to these institutes,” Farooq asked the senators.
About the education quality in the public sector institutes, the minister said the entry test topper last fall was from a government school.
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