University administration excluded students’ assignment marks.
The annual report does not make clear how many students were affected by this practice of the AIOU. STOCK IMAGE
ISLAMABAD: A large number of students at the Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) who had initially failed their final exams were given passing grades after the intervention of the Federal Ombudsman in 2013.
This disclosure was made in the Ombudsman’s annual report for 2013, which stated that the students were failed by the university because university officials failed to count the grades for their pre-exam assignments, which resulted in them having a lower grade, and pushed many students below passing. Once this practice was pointed out by the Ombudsman’s office, the university corrected the grades and issued passing grades and degrees to the affected students.
The annual report does not make clear how many students were affected by this practice of the AIOU, though the Ombudsman’s office states that 1,311 complaints about the AIOU that were admitted in 2013, 825 related to degrees and exam results, of which a large percentage were related to the failure to include assignment grades. The university administration has been advised by the Ombudsman to improve its grading system to avoid non-inclusion of assignment marks in the future.
The total number of complaints against the AIOU received in 2013 was slightly lower than the 1,369 received in 2012, but much higher than the 897 admitted in 2009. The total number of complaints received by the Ombudsman about the AIOU was the fifth largest total, behind only the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra), the state-owned gas utilities, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines (SNGP), and the state-owned electric utility companies.
The AIOU, established in 1974, was at the time of its establishment the only university that employs distance learning as its only method of teaching. Since then, the internet-based Virtual University has also joined the ranks of state-run universities providing distance learning.
When it was set up, it was meant to provide promising students who lived in rural or inaccessible areas the opportunity to gain a tertiary education at low cost without having to move away from where they lived. In a conservative society where many families are reluctant to send their daughters out for tertiary education, it has provided many women with the opportunity to pursue higher education while not having to go against family traditions.
The university has a total enrolment of around 500,000 in its bachelors, masters and PhD programmes, and has an annual intake of close to 100,000 students, making it the largest institution of higher education in the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2015.
Examination Department remains associated with every student till the award of Degree/certificate. Department perform the following tasks:
Assessment of students in distance education system is made by two mode:
- Continuous Assessment
- Term. Final Examination on
1. Continuous Assessment:
Students are required to do two assignments for each half-credit course and four assignments for each full credit course. The marks obtained in the assignments contribute to the final course result. For successful completion of the course, it is imperative to obtain a minimum 40% from Matric to Master level programmes and 50% for M.Phil Ph.D. programmes. Students failing in continuous assessment (assignments) are not eligible to appear in the final examination.
1.2 Purpose of Assignments
The main purpose of assignments is to test the student's comprehension of syllabus of course and books, the students received from the University and also to help them to get through these courses.
The students are advised to take the assignments seriously. A simple omission on their part may cause considerable loss to them, which can be avoided by exercising proper care.
1.3 Submission of Assignments
The students should submit complete answers to all assignments' questions in their own words and before submitting the assignments they should ensure that they have answered all questions in all assignments. Normally after evaluation, teacher returns the marked assignments to the students with comments and grading. All assignments are required to be submitted within due date and no assignment will be accepted after due date. It is the responsibility of the students to get back their duly evaluated marked assignments along with a copy of the assessments sheet containing comments of the teacher on their performance.
2. Term Final Examination /
2.1 Need of Examination
Final examination is another component of overall assessment system of a course. Exams help the students to review their studies and see the course as a whole. At the end of each semester the University arranges a final three hours, written examination in each course on the set dates, usually at the convenient center established near the home town of students..
The final examinations carry 70% weightge in the determination of final results. In order to be eligible to appear in the final examination in any course, the student are required to obtain at least minimum 40% from Matric to Master level programme and 50% for M.Phil & Ph.D. programmes qualifying marks in the assignments. The minimum passing marks in the final examinations are 40% from Matric to Master level programme and 50% for M.Phil & Ph.D. programmes. In case a student fails to get minimum qualifying marks in the final examinations, he/she is allowed to re-appear in the examination of the same course during the next semester. In case he again fails, one more final chance is given to qualify the examinations in the next semester. If he does not obtain minimum passing marks in 3 rd attempt in the final examinations, he/she is considered fail in overall evaluation of the course; no matter he has secured passing marks in the assignments. In this circumstance, he/she will have to re-enroll in that particular course(s) after paying the requisite admission fee of course(s).
2.2 Viva Voce
In Post-Graduate Programme thesis component is involved which also carries weightge. After evaluation of the thesis by the external experts, the student has to appear before a viva-voce committee to defend thesis .
3. General Information
3.1 Issuance of Roll No. Slips
The University send Roll Number Slip to each student to appear in the final examination at least 10 days before the examinations in which Roll Number, Registration, address of examination center and dated on which paper is held are mentioned. If any student does not receive this intimation slip 10 days before the commencement of examinations, he/she can contact Deputy Controller Examination (Results) Block 3, Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad Telephone No. 051 9250015 & Incharge, Complaints & Information Cell Phone No. 051 9250014 or concerned Regional Office for obtaining duplicate Roll No. Slip. The same could also be got printed from AIOU web site: www.aiou.edu.pk
3.2 Change of Examination Centre:
The University does not entertain the request for change of Examination Centre except in exceptional circumstances wherein the student has genuine reasons for this change. For this she/she has to apply at least 45 days before the commencement of examinations.
3.3 Eligibility for Appearing in Examinations :
It is the duty of the student to check whether he/she is registered for that particular course and whether he/she is eligible to appear for the examination or not. If he/she neglects this and take the examinations without being eligible for it, his/her results is cancelled. The student must bring their National Identity Cards while appearing in the examination centers to prove his/her identity.
3.4 Declaration of Results of Examinations
The results of examinations are declared within three months of completion of examinations and dispatched at his/her postal address by ordinary mail. Results can be downloaded from AIOU web site .
3.5 Weightge of Assignments & Final Examination
For calculation of final result of a student weightge of assignments & final examination is considered as 30% and 70% respectively .
3.6 Preparation of Certificates/Degrees
On successful completion of the required number of courses for a programme, the student has to apply to Certificate Section of Examinations Department for the issuance of Certificate/Degree. The certificate/degree to the successful student is issued within the period of two years.
The University has adopted the following grading scheme for its students:
80% and above
70% to 79%
60% to 69%
50% to 59%
40% to 49%
(The percentage in assignment and final examination do not apply to programmes like BBA, MBA as indicated earlier).
A student who fails in the assignment component is not eligible to appear in the final examination. He/she has to take re-admission in that particular course and repeat it. A student who fails in the final examination is allowed two more chances to reappear in the examination within next three semesters on payment of reappear fee only.
Credits Required for Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees:
Qualifications are awarded on credit basis. A full-credit course contains 18 units while a half credit course consists of nine units to be studied during a semester. If assignments are completed successfully and the final examination for the course is passed, a student is awarded a credit.