Cost concerns on E-marking: BISEP stuck in loop of 9th and 10th annual result date-changes

F.P. Report

PESHAWAR: The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar (BISEP) appears to be caught in a cycle of repeatedly announcing the release dates for the 9th and 10th annual results. Concurrently, concerns have emerged regarding the substantial expenditure involved in the implementation of e-marking for exam papers.

The eagerly anticipated annual results for the 9th and 10th grade classes of 2023 are still pending. Preceding the most recent declaration of August 15th, the board had initially stated that the results would be disclosed on August 7th.

However, an inside source informed The Frontier Post that the likelihood of the results being revealed on August 15th is uncertain. Furthermore, it was revealed that the papers of the top-ranking students will be transported to Abbottabad on August 15th for a reevaluation process, which is projected to span approximately two days before the finalization of the top achievers’ names and results.

The insider also included that the event honoring the toppers is anticipated to take place on either the 18th or 19th of August. Additionally, there is a possibility that the official results might be disclosed on the 22nd of August.

According to the details provided by the source to FP, this year, a total of four subject papers were subjected to electronic marking.

Despite the undeniable costliness of this e-marking procedure, the source clarified the expenditure breakdown. Initially, the papers were digitally scanned and then dispatched to Lahore, to a software firm named Red Marker.

Following this, the same papers were returned to the examiners who had previously assessed them manually; however, this time, the evaluation was conducted digitally using the aforementioned software. Once the evaluation was concluded, the papers were reprinted.

The source underlined that this entire progression incurred additional expenses, including travel and daily allowance costs (TA/DA) for the board personnel. It would not be an exaggeration, the source asserted, to acknowledge that this process has seen a substantial investment of millions of rupees.

Chairman of the BISEP, Nasrullah Khan, conveyed his perspective on the matter to FP during a phone conversation. He pointed out that the escalating prices have led to an increase in paper rates, which have been rather volatile.

He clarified that while funds are being allocated for reforms, the financial burden has not been transferred to the students. He emphasized that these expenditures are intimately linked with the implementation of e-marking.

This shift to e-marking has phased out the conventional methods of manual paper assessment, code deciphering, fuel consumption for checkers, service charges, and excess electricity consumption, thereby substantially reducing costs and generating savings.

Nasrullah Khan noted, “We haven’t officially announced any specific date. Different dates are being circulated on social media on our behalf.” He mentioned that between the 15th and 17th of August, the examination papers of the top-ranking students will undergo meticulous scrutiny in Abbottabad.

Subsequently, within two days, certificates and monetary rewards will be prepared for the top three achievers.

He revealed that the Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) has expressed a desire to organize a ceremony in Peshawar, provided it is feasible for students from all over to attend.

“All KP boards have formulated their results timelines on August 3rd. On August 15th, these boards will convene and proceed with the cross-validation process,” Khan informed.

Regarding the official announcement date, Khan stated that the board will be in a position to declare it on August 20th, contingent on the Chief Minister’s schedule. However, this timing is subject to the Chief Minister’s availability.

Addressing a query, Khan elaborated that the e-marking procedure isn’t overly complex.

Teachers assess the papers on-screen, but analyses have indicated that there is potential in e-marking method.

He noted that specific questions from each student’s paper are assigned to an examiner, who then evaluates those particular questions.