Board Exams

Posted by sepoy on July 01, 2004 · 3 mins read

I remember that terror of sitting for 30 days of examinations (3 hours on each subject) on material you did not study for 2 years. Whoever came up with that educational system needs to commended for turning normal teenagers into ulcer-ridden bundles of nerves. And those are the successful ones.
Board Exams, as they are called, are held at the end of the year. They begin in 9th grade and go on and on. Based on your score in the 10th (Matric) and 12th (FSc/FA) year Exam, you get placement in the next level of education at the various colleges and universities that practice Merit-based admission (ha!). Basically, if you score well in Matric, you get into a good pre-med or pre-eng program and when you score well in FSc you get into med school or eng university. If you miss out at any of the exams, you get to not be a doctor or an engineer or an MBA and bring shame upon your family. City kids hate the villagers who they think got to cheat in the exam and, hence, score easily. Boys hate girls because they are not distracted by cricket or eve-teasing and, hence, study harder and score higher (throwing the curve). Mothers start the refrain of, '"you need to study for the board exams or you will be a jamadar (sweeper) for the rest of your life" around 6th grade.

Around these exams is the largest cottage industry in Pakistan. Tuition centers where the same teachers that did not come to your class, teach you for a premium price. Study guides and Exam copies that are sold for a nice sum. A culture built around the numbers game - who scored what? Colleges and Tuition Academies display giant banners and boards trumpeting their outstanding students. Tutors are hired to come to the house and go over and over the curriculum that has seen little change since 1956. Kids take practice exams and learn by rote entire volumes of mathematical theorems (why god?).
And lets just leave aside the rampant corruption, cheating, and outright criminality (shout-out here to the booti mafia) attached to the examination process.

The big surprise in this year's Matric results is that two prisoners in Kot Lakhpat Jail got the top marks in the General Studies category. What is noteworthy is not that this has never happened in Pakistani history but that these prisoners were "provided with tutors, books and stationary and the environment was not bad.î!!! I had no idea there was a prison in Pakistan that treated murder suspects like actual human beings. Amazing.
So anyways, overall, girls kicked ass for the 20th year in row, the rural area kids screwed it up for decent, party-going city kids like myself and the pass rate hovered around 40%.


s¯nee | July 01, 2004

You forgot to mention these 'board leaking the upcoming exam question papers and then selling it off through a well organized network of private tuitioning academies.Thats why its considered more important to go to these private academies than to school. You never know maybe you are lucky enough to get a great 20% 'guess' of the coming exam. I agree with the girl-topping-board exams; they rote everything, even the commas and fullstops!!!!& Booti Mafia is everywhere in the world!!

ubaid | July 01, 2004

Haha, that's one terrible Raj legacy that seems to torture students both sides of the border equally. My personal beef was with filling up lab journals describing physics experiments and drawing intricate pictures of rat viscera. About girls kicking ass, again, we see similar results, but, for perhaps cultural or other reasons, the much smaller number of girls who eventually take up professional courses like engineering and medicine remains inconsistent with the number who crack the primary and secondary school exams.

sepoy | July 01, 2004

I had a very interesting conversation with a few friends who now teach at Punjab University. They were bemoaning the lack of women teachers and advisors while we were standing in front of the administration building. I looked around and noticed a merit list posted on the wall and exclaimed that the top 8 or 9 names were all female (actually, the overwhelming majority of names on the First List were females). I said, surely, some of them will end up teaching with you. I was informed that the retention rate of females in non-medical fields was below 15%. That is, less than 15% of girls who finish professional schools continue in their fields as professionals. These seats are fucking wasted, one friend noted in exasperation. Of course, at that moment, I could have asked him why he does not allow his wife (who has a Masters) to teach ... but I didn't.

Marlowe | July 02, 2004

What is this Booty Mafia? A hip-hop group? Do they have an album out? Should I know them? Are they good? Do they sing the Milkshake? Somebody splain this to me.

sepoy | July 02, 2004

I'd imagine them as Goodie Mob's second act. basically, booti mafia refers to organized cheating in the board exams by bribing officials and proctors, leaking exams etc. BOOTI: a punjabi term for a scrunched up cheat sheet.

MayHa | July 03, 2004

its ALL about the Bootis. when i was in N.C.A i learnt the art of booti making...very impressive, equally progressive. you actually had computer printout which were then reduced and photo copied and handed out...i mean if ppl put that much time into studying they'd do quite alright...about the girls issue. since it is such an issue. i'd like to say that girls are smarter than boys but i wouldnt be helpin the cause. what it is however is direction...girls have it- boys dont. girls spend their lives running around trying to break away from their destinies as tradition would have it.i.e: they'd get married right out of the age of 18 or 20. the less than 15% that do make it to the professional cut are those whose fathers/brothers/husbands let them..the rest unfortunately are considered enough of an investment for their parents- after all they will one day marry and go to another house where the education that their fathers money bought them wont benefit no one...ok. now i sound bitter but its true. as for boys and their wavering has to do with presssure amongst other things. but in some cases the boys know that they are the only investment the family has and so take it for granted that their back is got indefinitely...its actually all quite pointless...the only reason you actually need a degree is if you plan on teaching or going into research..for all other things theres real life...what we learn IN school is mostly pointless.

sepoy | July 03, 2004

mayHa: such despair in one so young! what you learn in school is NOT pointless. it is essential. x+y=z(xy) is used to determine price of gasoline. i swear.

AYESHA | July 19, 2004

Well all the things u ppl said above are true accept one .shame on u boys girls are better than u hahahahah!!!!!!!!!!!!.and oh yea always will want to compete u can .remember the date and time

AYESHA | July 19, 2004

thats true i mean above

anigma | December 08, 2005

asalamualakom , sir acctuaaly i cant get guide line .so i mail u abt it ,i m a home girll .i do my inter privatelly .now i want to do ba as same plz guide me abt it in witch subjects i can do BA .i m so confuse plz help me throught mail .thx for urs kind concern anciouselly waiting for urs mail. anigma.