PESHAWAR: On Monday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan ordered a fact-finding investigation into the suspected leak of question papers last Sunday for the teacher screening exam for the National Testing Service.
The inquiry will be undertaken by the Provincial Inspection Committee (PIT) and, according to a statement issued here on Monday, a letter to the PIT has been issued by the Chief Minister’s Secretariat.
It claimed that the PIT will conduct a fact-finding investigation into the matter and send its report to the provincial government in the next seven days with specific recommendations.
In order to promote the operation of the investigation, the provincial inspection team can also co-opt any participant, including the Director of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and IT and Home Department and Special Division officers, not less than the BPS-19 officer.
The statement quoted the chief minister as saying that the highest priority of his government is merit and accountability in the recruitment of government employees, which would not be undermined at any cost.
Promises strict action against culprits
He said stern action against those interested in the matter will be taken.
The test findings were withheld and further steps will be taken in the light of the report of the investigation,” he said.”
The screening examination for the recruitment of primary school teachers (PSTs) on Sunday was conducted throughout the province on Sunday, despite reports of paper leaks from the districts of Dera Ismail Khan, Karak, Mardan, Shangla, Buner and Upper Dir.
Dawn was told by government officials that approximately 900,000 persons had applied for the PST recruitment exam and about 350,000 of them sat it.
They said the candidates were split into three categories on Sunday.
According to them, the first group test was carried out from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., while the second group test was performed from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. In the experiment, the third party emerged from 2pm to 4pm.
In the past, the sources also said that the education department had received some complaints about screening tests, in particular about the leaking of documents, so this time around, both deputy commissioners and district education officers were informed by examination hall visits to track the Sunday teacher screening test.
They said directives were also given to the headmasters of the related schools to ensure that within examination halls there was a presence.
The sources said 30 applicants for the use of arbitrary means were booked by the education department as they took solved documents to the examination halls.
The act of those students verified paper leak ahead of the day of the exam, they said.
For the first time, the sources said, in the screening assessments performed by private research companies, the education department and district administration had interfered.
They said there had been concerns about the fairness of such tests conducted in the past due to the document leak and retrieval of solved papers from candidates.
A district education officer told Dawn that since 2014, the provincial government has been performing screening tests to hire staff members into its offices, but as the number of research companies has risen with time, concerns about the credibility of the tests they administer have been posed.
He believed that as rumours of irregularities sometimes appeared after they held experiments, private research companies had lost standing in the eyes of people.
Any candidates insisted that there was no oversight in the actions of private research companies.
In a meeting last Tuesday, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet tasked a ministerial committee with reviewing the testing and recruiting system for provincial government employment within two weeks because of increasing concerns from testing agencies regarding test irregularities. After two weeks, it instructed the committee to deliver its conclusions on the subject.