Jan 11, 2013

Gilgit Baltistan: No Testing Centres For Aspiring Students

Youngsters from Gilgit-Baltistan have to travel for days to do the assessments that give them a chance to study and work.

Below is an article published by the Dardistan Times:

The people of Gilgit-Baltistan have profound zeal towards achieving professional excellence and attaining higher education. Despite being deprived of the constitutional rights and ample educational resources, they keep striving in achieving the targeted goal. This fact is as obvious as the daylight that they have been showing extraordinary performance in educational area and the professional excellence nationally as well as internationally.  They are always enthusiastic in attempting the tests of high standards and through them, knocking the doors of high ranking universities of the world.

National Testing Service (NTS) being the only public sector organization of the country conducts tests and assessments for admissions in higher studies, scholarships at home and abroad and the recruitment and promotion purposes at various organizations. Tests like National Aptitude Test (NAT) and Graduate Assessment Test (GAT) are a few to name. Its centers are currently there in the major cities of the country and for students belonging to far-flung areas of the country; it’s difficult to travel to those cities only for the said tests.

Gilgit-Baltistan being a remote and far-flung region of the country still doesn’t have a single centre of this testing system. Recently, a huge number of students from various regions of Gilgit-Baltistan travelled here to Islamabad only for attempting the test of NTS and GAT. They severely criticized their authorities of the region for not providing a centre there in Gilgit.
“ It’s indeed painful for students to travel to Islamabad only for this test of 3 hours. Neither flying via plane is affordable nor the journey through KKH is safe”, said Arshad Shedayi a Lecturer of KIU who was caught by this scribe outside the test centre here, in Islamabad. “Our Educational Ministry, so called Assembly and the high authorities in educational sector, are oblivious to this hard issue and this shows that they are incompetent and not sincere to the nation. One can only understand this hardship when one has to face this all” he elaborated along-with requesting the youth forums of the region here to raise the voice regarding this very issue.

The recent sectarian killings and the bad weather in the region hinder the youth from the region to safely move to major cities for the test purpose as nearly all the universities along-with Karakuram International University in Gilgit-Baltistan, have set the criterion of passing GAT general for admission in M.Phil programmes. Hence, all the aspiring students are bound to attempt the test. Likewise, for lectureship under HEC, it’s mandatory for candidate to possess a GAT certificate at least. For the recent jobs at State Bank of Pakistan and some overseas Scholarships, the test under NTS was made mandatory or the prime selection criteria.

Taking to DT here, in Islamabad the candidates and other aspiring students for admissions looked dismayed over the silence of the representatives and assembly of the region. “If FPSC can arrange testing centre in Gilgit, then why this NTS is reluctant in providing the service there?” asked a student Syed Sher Wali who has travelled for more than 24 hours to reach the test centre at G-10 Islamabad. When asked why he needs a GAT certificate, he said that he was willing to continue his studies in MPhil there at KIU. According to him a mere Masters degree doesn’t guarantee him a job as the jobs are sold against huge sum there in educational department in Gilgit-Baltistan.

It was known through a reliable source that the KIU management had earlier asked the NTS authorities here to arrange their centre in GB so that they would be facilitated at the campus but till now no any progress is seen. The future of students aspiring to attain higher education seems to be at stake.