The Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) will allow Pakistani A-Level students to retake exams—without any additional fees—that were cancelled in May, the British Council announced on Friday, amidst protests over unfair grading from students and parents.
On May 10-12, amidst nationwide riots from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) over the arrest of party chief Imran Khan, all A- and AS-Level exams were cancelled, with the CAIE announcing at the time it would award “predicted” grades to the affected students. As a consequence, a majority of students did not obtain desired results, leading to protests over the past week and calls for redress. As protests mounted, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief organizer Maryam Nawaz had called upon Cambridge to review its grading system for the year to facilitate students whose future faced jeopardy.
In a statement, Pakistan’s Education Ministry said the decision was reached during a meeting attended by CAIE Country Director Uzma Yousaf; British Council Director Maarya Rehman; heads of various private schools; the executive-director of the Inter-Boards Coordination Commission; and the chairman of the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education. It said Cambridge had agreed to allow students whose exams had been cancelled to retake those papers in November, free of charge.
According to the statement, the British Council would provide a reduced plan of logistics, and a re-evaluation and reassessment would be held for individual cases where an “enormous difference” was found to have been noticed between school-assessed grades and Cambridge’s grades. For this exercise, it said, schools would submit requests for re-evaluation and reassessment to Cambridge, adding schools would bear 80 percent of the costs required. The remaining cost, it said, would be borne by parents. If a re-evaluation results in grades being altered, all fees would be reimbursed, it added.
To facilitate students who are seeking admission to universities, the Federal Education Ministry said it would meet with vice-chancellors and urge them to provide flexibility in their admission process. The ministry, it said, would also coordinate with provincial governments to initiate similar measures by them. For this purpose, it said, a complaints redressal mechanism was being setup under Private Institution Education Regulatory Authority at the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training to keep track of unresolved complaints.
In a separate statement, Cambridge added that students who agree to retake an exam would need to appear in all relevant components. “Students who want to resit A-Level take all components, both AS and A2,” it clarified.