Swat, 7000 students disappeared after matriculation

Picture source - AFP

Every year, thousands of students miss out on intermediate admissions due to high merit and lack of seats in the educational institutions of the entire province including the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Some students move to other districts or provinces while most drop out after matriculation. Despite the introduction of second shift classes in colleges, this year 7476 students did not get admission to any government or private college in Swat.

Could not get admission even after getting 760 marks

Sulaiman Khan, who belongs to Mingora, the main city of Swat, managed to secure 760 marks in the recent matriculation exams, but he could not get admission to any government college in Swat. Sulaiman Khan said while talking that he applied for admission to many colleges but could not get admission due to high merit.

“I do not have money to enroll in private educational institutions including nursing and technical colleges and my financial condition is not good enough, it is difficult for my family to bear my educational expenses.” He added

According to Sulaiman Khan, due to not getting admission, I have started working in a shop in Mingora city. I am trying to take private admissions only to take the exam, but it is hard for me to study in any private educational institution with huge fees.

Where did more than seven thousand students disappear?

Thousands of students participated in the recent matriculation exams in Swat, according to the information obtained from the Swat Education Board comprising three districts of Swat, Buner, and Shangla, a total of 44714 students participated in the matriculation exams 2022 in which 39658 were declared successful.

According to the data of the Swat Education Board, a total of 32182 students have taken admitted in the intermediate first year this year, in which 19928 government colleges, 7689 private colleges, and 4565 private students have taken admission for the exam.

If the data of Swat Education Board is reviewed, out of 39658 students who have passed the matriculation, 32182 have entered the intermediate first year while 7476 students have passed the matriculation examination but have not been able to get admission in the first year in any educational institution of Swat.

When it was investigated regarding the non-admission of these seven thousand students, it was found that about ten percent of these seven thousand students are those who have enrolled in educational institutions of other districts or other cities, while about four hundred Students take admission in technical and nursing colleges every year. Most of the students discontinue their studies due to not getting admission.

A race for numbers in education

Like other districts of the province, there is a race for marks in the educational institutions of Swat and students try to score high marks to get admission to good colleges. According to the results of the Swat Education Board in the year 2022, the highest marks in the matriculation exams were 1080, while the second position was 1079 and the third was 1078 marks.

7689 male and female students got admission to private colleges due to high merit and lack of capacity in government colleges.

Mah Noor, a student of a private college who secured 970 marks, says that due to a lack of space in educational institutions, she did not get admission to any government college for girls, due to which she was forced to enroll in a private college.

“Now I am trying to get maximum marks in intermediate so that I can apply again for the MDCAT test”. She Added

In this regard, educationist and social activist Arif Siddiqui says that there should be no capacity in government colleges, and on the other hand, students do not get admission in colleges due to not appearing in merit, because now not only Swat but also students from Buner, Shangla, Dir and Malakand come for admission in Swat colleges.

“Government has upgraded schools, started the second shift, built new colleges but still many students miss out on admissions in government colleges.” He added

Initiatives of the PTI government

To solve the problem of thousands of students not getting admission in Swat, the previous government of Tehreek-e-Insaf has taken many steps, the biggest thing that was done was that the high schools were given the status of higher secondary.

Deputy District Education Officer Fazal Khaliq Khan while speaking said that forty schools were given higher secondary status in the previous government and second shift classes were also started in them.

Former MPA and Ddac Chairman Fazal Hakeem Khan say that Wali Swat did the most work for education in Swat, while after that no government paid attention to education. Revolutionary measures were taken in the field of education during the nine-year government of Tehreek-e-Insaaf.

According to Fazal Hakeem Khan, seven new colleges have been constructed across the district, Shagai, Wadudia, and other schools have been given higher secondary status, new schools have been constructed in different areas, Buildings of Mingora Degree College and Jahanzeb College were rebuilt and more classes were built. Construction of a new degree college at Akhun Baba is in progress, a girls’ college was started at Shagai, and BS colleges for boys and girls were opened at the college colony.

“Schools which lacked rooms were rebuilt and made more rooms.” He added

What will be the solution?

Educational experts believe that high merit is putting the future of thousands of students at stake, on the other hand, due to the increase in population it has become difficult to accommodate students in colleges.

“But according to experts, there is a solution to this problem.”

Arif Siddiqui writer and educationist, says that the whole world is now connected to virtual education and online systems, and thousands of students can also be accommodated in the same model. If a college admits a hundred students, it admits three hundred. Classes of 100 students in the morning, 100 in the afternoon, and 100 students can be taught online.

Jahanzeb College and Degree College Mingora are the oldest and largest educational institutions in Swat which have proved that students can be accommodated even without merit.

According to the administrator of Jehanzeb College, Jannat Gul, all the students who applied in the first year have been admitted, one shift is in the morning and the other is in the afternoon.

What was the strategy of the two big colleges this year?

Jahanzeb College Admission Superintendent Students Affairs Jannat Gul says that a total of 10 thousand 217 students applied in the first year this year of which 1536 students have been admitted.

818 students have been accommodated in the morning shift while 718 students have been admitted to the afternoon shift.

Jannat Gul said that all the students who had applied locally to the jurisdiction and Swat have been accommodated, while around fifty students have been admitted outside the jurisdiction and Swat.

“The merit for non-locals was kept very low, students scoring up to 770 were admitted in the first year”. He added

A second shift was also introduced in the degree college to accommodate the students.

Former MPA Fazal Hakeem Khan says that we started the second shift in higher secondary schools including colleges, which solved the problem to a large extent and the children who were deprived of admissions got admission to colleges, and their precious year was saved from being wasted.

According to DDO Fazal Khaliq Khan, up to two hundred students were accommodated in each secondary school, and the government did revolutionary work by introducing a second shift.

“There are about fifteen and twenty schools in Mingora, Charbagh, and Islampur in which the first-year classes are also taken in the second shift, while the second shift has also been started in the schools up to the primary level”. He added

Reducing merit and implementing a percentile system 

DDO Swat Fazal Khaliq Khan says that it is very important to have merit, if the story of merit is eliminated, then the institutions cannot reach any position, and neither can they perform. Rather, the race to get good marks among students will also end.

“In my view, the solution to the problem is to start second shift classes in more colleges and arrange online classes along with it,” he said.

Fazal Rabi, the principal of the private college, says that due to the percentile system, students with low marks can be accommodated in government colleges.

“In percentile system merit is based on percentage, it is not that students with 900 marks will get admission and students with 899 marks will lose admissions, rather admissions will be given based on percentage, e.g. Students whose percentage is between 60 and 65 should be admitted.” He added

He said that this will ensure that many students who miss out on admissions by a mark or two, will be accommodated in colleges.

Online classes with Second Shift can bring a revolution

The virtual university model for the promotion of online education in Pakistan can also provide the best solution to this problem.

In Virtual University, students are equipped with fine education through weekly live sessions and LMS, video-recorded lectures.

According to Junaid Khan, administrator of Virtual University Swat Campus, BS, and MS students are enrolled in their university. If the government launches online classes for intermediate students, it can save thousands of students from having a dark future.

“Our services can also be hired, we can start real-time online classes in government colleges for intermediate students, in a class where a hundred students sit and listen to lectures, and we can show the same lecture online to over a hundred students.” He added

Due to the lack of colleges in Swat, the increase in population, and the influx of students from other districts to swat, most of the colleges have started afternoon classes but still, thousands of students are deprived of education.

Educational experts are insisting that the only solution to this problem is to reduce merit in other colleges like Jahanzeb College and Degree College and introduce or percentile system, Second and third shifts should be started and the most important and necessary thing is to launch online classes so that thousands of students who are deprived of admissions every year can continue their education.