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PTB Officials Face Action for Flawed Class X physics Book

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PTB Officials Face Action for Flawed Class X physics Book
« on: February 04, 2014, 10:12:08 AM »
PTB Officials Face Action for Flawed Class X physics Book
Lahore:February 04: Inefficiency, clash of interests and vested interests of officials in the Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) and the Punjab Curriculum Authority (PCA) have fallen hard on class X students as they are studying Physics (English medium) textbook that is replete with conceptual and technical mistakes.
The Punjab Curriculum Authority (PCA) and Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) chairmen blame each other for the production of the textbook carrying a large number of mistakes.
According to the documents available with Dawn, the PCA Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC), led by authority chairman Saleem Akhtar Kiyani, had declared Physics X manuscript developed by Malik Sirajuddin & Sons publishing house the best textbook. The other two textbooks developed by the M/S Caravan Book House and Punjab Textbook Board were, however, declared far better by the Provincial Review Committee (PRC) and the Technical Review Committee (TRC).
The PTB had identified 1,066 spelling, grammatical, technical, conceptual and illustrative mistakes in the manuscript of the physics X, which was approved by the PCA for publication. The PTB chairman says the board’s editor had rectified the mistakes but textbook still carried 104 conceptual mistakes last year. “Now, the textbook’s remaining 104 mistakes have also been fixed and the book has been reduced to 201 pages from 206,” said PTB chairman Nawazish Ali. “This year, the error-free textbook will be published for the next academic session.”

The book in question was authored by Dr Ghulam Murtaza, assistant professor at the Centre for Advanced Studies in Physics, Government College University, Lahore; and Azmat Iqbal, PhD scholar at the Centre for High Energy Physics, Punjab University.

After coming to know about the mistakes, the Punjab School Education Department (SED), on the advice of the chief minister, charged nine officials, including the PCA chairman and former PCA secretary Malik Mukhtar Ahmad Noul, of inefficiency, misconduct and corruption.

Out of the blue, the SED brought charges under the PEEDA Act against Multan education board chairman Chaudhry Muhammad Rasheed and Elementary Education DPI Islam Siddique, who had not attended PCA’s TEC meeting that finalised the `best’ textbook.

As the two officials have made their representations to the SED secretary as well as chief minister, PTB Chairman Mr Ali has directed the director to acknowledge that both officials were not part of the meeting and should not be tried under the PEEDA Act.The charge-sheet issued to former PCA secretary Mr Noul says that he made himself the member of every review committee only to get review charges.

The charge-sheet said it appeared that Mr Noul never read the PRC and TRC reports and never directed the PCA chairman and the desk officer to implement PRC and TRC directions. He was also part of the committee that selected the textbook in question.The desk officer, Amar Riaz, is accused of taking the manuscript to the TRC without getting it checked from the coordinator concerned though a lot of observations contained in the PRC-II report were not followed by the publishers. He also not allowed the PRCs committee coordinator to join the TRC review – as a major procedural fault. In the TRC as a reviewer, he neither bothered about hundreds of mistakes present in the manuscript nor did he direct the TRC members to authenticate the manuscript in the light of PRC reports.

He being the permanent employee of the board unlawfully got review charges for every manuscript and put an undue financial burden on the developers. He was member of over 200 review committees.

The committee members – former DPI (secondary education) Mian Abdul Haq, DEO (SE) Chakwal Shafqat Mahmood, PEAS, Lahore, Director Dr Abdullah Faisal and senior headmistress Dr Bushra -- are also accused of ignoring the PRC-II observations on selecting the low quality manuscript.

When contacted, PCA Chairman Mr Kiyani says the authority had approved Physics X manuscript on the recommendation of the curriculum director, who was working with the PTB. He also said a PTB reviewers’ team, which received proof reading charges from publishers, was supposed to review the approved manuscript and give a no-objection-certificate that the book was error-free. “When they were to rectify the mistakes, almost all officials of the PTB were busy in a month-long protest to regain its powers,” Mr Kiyani said. He said the book in question was selected with 84.28pc ranking. The other two manuscripts including one developed by the PTB carried 75.93pc and 70.83 per cent ratings.

Alleging that whole responsibility rested with the PTB as it was supposed to sign a 16-page sheet before sending for printing, Mr Kiyani added the imposition of PEEDA Act was a sheer victimisation move by the school education secretary and the PTB chairman “to bring their man at the PCA”. Mr Kiyani also said the manuscript in question was declared best by the members on Feb 6, who were reporting to the PTB chairman. “The PCA got its own staff on May 17,” he added.

PTB Chairman Nawazish Ali says the board had forwarded the objections raised in the PRC-I and II meetings but the PCA chairman did not invite the PRC meetings’ coordinator to TRC meetings so that he should not assert for the rectification of mistakes before grant of approval.

Mr Ali said the chief minister had ordered the immediate publication of the book. “We were left with no option than to print the textbook after rectifying some mistakes because the students, who were joining Class X had already studied class IX textbook based on latest curricula,” the PTB chairman observed. For the Physics X, he said, the PTB had received only three manuscripts.

About the proof reading charges received by the PTB officials, Mr Ali said the PCA officials had also received millions as review charges. PCA Chairman Mr Kiyani recently received Rs2.88 million as review charges for class VIII manuscripts for the academic session 2014-15. Similarly, PCA Technical Director Aamir Riaz received Rs900,000 and Humanities Director Muzaffar Ali Rs1.188 million.

Mr Noul said the PCA had worked in emergency to produce 47 new textbooks on the instructions of Punjab government and persuaded by the DFID special representative on education in Pakistan, Sir Michael Barber. He said the PRCs meetings were conducted by the PTB.Mr Noul said the chief minister had instructed that textbooks produced by the PTB itself should not be approved. He said the PRCs coordinator was not invited because he could become a party as the PTB itself had produced a manuscript and competing with the private publishers.

Shifting the buck on the PTB, Mr Noul said the board charged Manuscript Maintenance Charges at the rate of 7.5pc and it was board’s responsibility to ensure the publication of an error-free textbook. “The PTB is charging some Rs400 million every year as proof reading charges,” he claimed.

About allegations that the publisher of the book in question was his close relative, Malik Noul said that he had no relations with Malik Sirajuddin.Dawn.
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