Students under the pressure of clearing Graduate Assessment Test (GAT) test, conducted by National Testing Service (NTS), for admissions in MPhil and PhD, don’t have to worry anymore. The Lahore High Court has ruled out the requirement to pass GAT tests for MPhil and PhD admissions in any university in Pakistan.

Earlier, every student had to pass the GAT conducted by GAT along with the entry test from each university. Now, the students will only have to qualify for the entry test of the university. No involvement from NTS is required anymore. This is supposed to be a great relief for all the prospective students. One of the biggest reservations about having a GAT test by NTS was that why do students have to prove once again that they are qualified to be admitted in any university when they have high grades and great performance history. With the removal of NTS, now, all the students have just to qualify for the criteria of the university only.

As per the directives given to the HEC by the Lahore High Court dated 11.10.2013 and 25.10.2013 in pursuance of written petition No. 28028/2011 entitled, “Miss. Syeda Anam Ilyas vs Dr. Haroon Rashid” that HEC issue notice to the representatives of universities soliciting their response to the questions raised by the court. The questions asked by the LHC are as follows.

  1. What is the nature and scope of a “testing body” envisaged in Section 10 (1) (n) of the Higher Education Commission Ordinance, 2002 (Ordinance).
  2. What are the nature and scope of service to be rendered by the said testing body?
  3. What is the scholastic capacity required of such a testing body?
  4. Can HEC regulate any such body under the Ordinance?
  5. Should there be on testing body or more?
  6. What should be the legal status of the entity constituting the testing body?

Based on these questions, the HEC issued notices to the Vice Chancellors, Rectors and heads of the degree awarding institutions to submit their suggestions in writing before the next hearing which was scheduled on 13-12-13.

In pursuance of the directives by the HEC about 16 representatives of various universities appeared before the honorable court and submitted their suggestions. Based on the provided suggestions the court decided as follows;

“It is, therefore, clarified that universities and other educational institutions are not bound to subscribe to the entrance examinations/test conducted by NTS. It is also an admitted position that NTS has not been approved by HEC to act as a Testing Body under the Ordinance.”

The students and a number of teaching faculty members admired the decision of LHC. They said that if the degree awarding universities can handle the entry tests on their own, there is no need for any other body to conduct the entry tests. Entry tests must be conducted through the institute or the universities, they added.

Students, while talking to the Educational Times, expressed their relief at the decision and said that, “Earlier none of the students could claim on what grounds they were declared fail.”

Now, considering the NTS out of the picture, one can hope that the institutions and universities set their own standards for new admissions. Seems like they’ll be more in-charge of setting their own standards, but at the same time, it is direly needed that the overall structure of the admissions in all universities is brought up to the latest trends.

Share your opinion about the entry tests and the court decision in the comments below.

Notice:

Following images are added to this news story on March 20, 2014;

  1. Image of the LHC order sheet is added.
  2. Image of the comments of LHC highlighted in the order sheet is added.
  3. Image of the HEC notification sent to the VCs, rectors & heads of the Universities, asking for their suggestions on the questions raised by LHC is updated.
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