Minimum age limit for Matric exam under fire

LAHORE, The Inter Board Committee of Chairmen has been criticized for barring candidates below 14 years of age to appear in the Class-9 examination.

The decision that a candidate should be at least 14-year-old for appearing in the examination of the Secondary School Certificate-I (Class 9) was taken by IBCC in its meeting held in March.

However, the stakeholders, especially students and parents, came to know about the decision after the IBCC notified it to boards across the country in April. Subsequently, the boards forwarded the same to the educational institutions to ensure its implementation and the institutions started informing parents about the move following which the public resentment started to appear.

The notification (No FBISE/ REGN/ NOTIF/AGE/SSC-I/1983), issued by Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, a copy available with The News, reads “In pursuance of Resolution No 12 of 123rd IBCC meeting held on 11-12 March 2009, conveyed to the Boards vide letter No F.7-29/ 2008/IBCC/Edu-Sys/ 5809-51 dated 15-04-2009, it has been decided that the minimum age limit of 14 years is prescribed for appearing in the SSC (Matriculation Part-I).”

Talking to The News, students, their parents and teachers expressed concerns over the minimum age limit for Class 9 exam, saying any such decision should not have been made without consulting them.

Jamshaid, father of a student, said his son was declared ineligible for appearing in the SSC Examination 2010 by his school management owing to the minimum age limit. He said: “Why my child should not appear in exam when he is prepared for it,” and added that the move was likely to affect the child’s creative abilities. He said there were hundreds of such students in schools, adding that the move would deprive them of their right to appear in exams in 2010.

The father of another student said: “This is quite strange and unfortunate,” adding: “Instead of recognising abilities of a talented student; he/she is being denied the right to sit in exam.”

It is pertinent to mention here that in 2006, the then Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had recognised the efforts of a student Muhammad Affan Yasin who had passed the matriculation exam at the age of 11. The kid had to quit the school after grade III due to his family’s financial problems and did his matriculation as a private student in August 2006. The success story is still available at official website of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), Islamabad.

Talking anonymously to The News, the chairman of one of the boards of intermediate and secondary education (BISEs), said the requirement of the minimum age in order to appear in matriculation exam was in fact a part of the National Education Policy 1998. Giving the rationale behind the age limit, he said a child should not join the college unless he/she had attained physical and mental maturity.

However, BISE Lahore Secretary Haji Muhammad Dogar said that the age limit was likely to deprive students of their rights.

“Why should we bar a candidate who is below 14 to appear in matriculation exam when he/she has done the preparation,” he said, adding: “If someone has the talent, it should be recognized and appreciated.”

“The BISE, Lahore, is not in favour of the minimum age limit criteria for Matric exam,” he added.

When contacted, IBCC Secretary Muhammad Ramzan Achakzai said keeping in view growing concern of students and their parents the committee would review the decision in its next meeting scheduled for June.


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