PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) has decided not to conduct the eighth grade exam through the education board and now the ninth and 10th grade exams will be conducted separately under the education board.

Decision to this effect was taken at an advisory meeting of the education boards chaired by Adviser to Chief Minister on ESED Ziaullah Bangash. The meeting decided that the exams of ninth and 10th grade will be arranged separately.

This abrupt decision by the KP ESED just three months ahead of the end of academic year has come as a surprise for students. The students said they will immediately start preparation for the board exams now. The meeting decided that the students of fifth and eighth grade will only attend assessment examination.

While chairing the meeting, Ziaullah Bangash explained the decision regarding not conducting composite exam. He said the decision about composite exam of Secondary School Certificate (SCC) in February was taken in a hurry which has been reversed now. The CM’s adviser said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly’s Committee on Education had also advised the ESED to review the decision about composite exam. He said the students, parents, lawmakers and other stakeholders had also supported the idea of separate exams of ninth and 10th grade.

An official of the education department said the private educational institutions showed the way for taking back the decision of composite exam. He said the ESED initially defended the decision of composite exam when it was challenged by the private schools in the High Court.

Till February, 2019, the education boards used to take separate exams of ninth and 10th grade, but the ESED then decided to bring the system of composite exam from 2020. The ESED had also decided to conduct the eighth grade exam through the education board, but that decision has been reversed now.

The parents of students said they are perturbed over abrupt decision of the education department. They said the education department frequently changes its policies which has put the future of students at stake. They demanded the ESED to stick with a system after consultation with all the stakeholders to ensure continuity, stability and improvement of the system.