Friday Jul 09 2021
Web Desk

Opposition walks out of NA session as govt refuses to postpone exams

Web Desk

  • NA speaker adjourns session due to lack of quorum.
  • Rafique says government is not ready to speak on postponing exams in the country.
  • Wajiha Akram asks how can exams be postponed as they were underway in Sindh and completed in Balochistan.

The Opposition staged a walkout during a National Assembly session on Friday as the government refused to agree to its demand of postponing exams in the country.

Before walking out, PML-N's Khawaja Saad Rafique said he had asked Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood to delay the exams in the country, but he was yet to hear from the government.

"If the government has not decided to delay the exams, then we should be informed as to why does it plan on taking supplementary exams within 45 days?" he asked.

At this, Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Education and Professional Training Wajiha Akram said that examinations had concluded in Balochistan, while they were underway in Sindh.

Responding to Akram, Rafique said this meant that the government does not want to speak to the Opposition about postponing the examinations.

Following Rafique's statement, the Opposition parties, along with PML-N, staged a walkout.

After the walkout, PML-N's Sheikh Fayyaz-ud-Din pointed out a lack of quorum, following which, NA Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was chairing the session, adjourned it till Monday.

Shafqat Mehmood slams Saad Rafique, Ahsan Iqbal

The walkout comes hours after Mehmood had slammed the PML-N and said that the party — which is "breaking up" — is "playing politics with students to gain cheap popularity."

Taking to Twitter, the minister had criticised PML-N leaders Ahsan Iqbal and Rafique and said that they know that exams have already taken place in Balochistan and Sindh, therefore, other students cannot be treated differently.

"They know that [the] decision to take exams was taken unanimously by all federating units, including PML-N's govt in AJK, and PPP in Sindh," he wrote.

"They know that students cannot be promoted on the basis of previous exams as there were no exams last year."

The minister further said that Saad Rafique and Ahsan Iqbal should know if they claim to be educated that exams are the best measure of students' ability.

He said that it is crucial for students of class 12 to take the exams as they have to go to universities and professional colleges.

"Why should hardworking students be discriminated against. Stop cheap politics," the minister wrote.

Mehmood wrote that the two leaders should know that after the 18th amendment, out of the 30 educational boards across the country, only one board, i.e. the federal board, was given to the federal government, while other boards are governed by the respective provinces and other bodies.

"Yet they [Ahsan Iqbal and Saad Rafique] were pretending that one order from a federal minister can stop exams across the country. Again just a failed attempt at cheap politics," the minister wrote while censuring the statements of the PML-N leaders.

Mehmood reminded students that exams would be commencing from tomorrow (July 10) in the remaining provinces and federating units.

"Wish all students taking exams from tomorrow the very best. Inshallah, all will do well," he wrote.

"Those students who say give more time can always appear in supplementary exams taken 2/3 months by all boards. Why should these exams be postponed and students who have been studying be penalised?"

'Students committing suicide because of pressure'

A day earlier, Ahsan Iqbal, while speaking during a session of the National Assembly, had said that "hundreds of students are depressed and are forced to commit suicide because of the pressure of exams."

He said that ideally, students should be given at least two to three months to prepare for exams, but the PTI government issued the date sheet for exams only 20 days before the exams, thus putting too much pressure on the students.

Iqbal added that students did not get equal opportunities due to online classes and the smart subjects could not be covered.

“Tens of students are looking towards the Assembly to take an appropriate decision. Those belonging to the lower-middle class and studying in government schools could not get sufficient time to cover the syllabus. He demanded a 45-day delay in Intermediate examinations so that the students could get proper time to prepare themselves.

On the other hand, Rafique said "politics should not be involved in the sensitive issue of Intermediate examinations. He demanded a six to eight weeks delay in the conduct of examinations.

The PML-N member said that due to severe load-shedding across the country, the students could also not avail online classes. He asked the speaker to call Shafqat Mahmood to respond to questions.

Despite the arguments of the Opposition members to delay the exam, the federal government had rejected the demand.