The Academic Council of Government College University Lahore has unanimously approved the University’s new examinations policy to be implemented in Fall 2021 for all undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.

This makes GCU the first public sector University of Pakistan to allow its teachers to conduct project-based and open-book exams.

Prof Dr Asghar Zaidi, VC GCU, said: “We have come to this policy after a lengthy consultative process. The COVID-19 experience provided us with an opportunity to review our learning methods. Over the last one and a half years, we conducted three exams which were open-book/open-internet, and project-based. On the basis of these experiences and after reviewing the performance of students in closed-book exams, we realize that the project-based assessment is a more effective learning tool than other modes”.

Prof Zaidi further elaborated: “The world has moved to situation/project-based assessment systems, whereas we have been still sticking with a centuries-old, redundant examination system. Our academic heads, especially of Social Sciences and Languages faculties, have serious reservations about closed-book, time-bound examination system that promotes selective studies and rote learning. Consequently, our graduates lack argumentation, and practical skills. We cannot build strong institutions and nation with such graduates who uncritically accept information in textbooks and media”.

While explaining the objectives of introducing a new assessment policy, Prof Zaidi said: “All focus of a course will now be on argumentation, problem solving, exploration and innovation. With the new examination system in place, our students will acquire skills to analyze, evaluate, and synthesize knowledge which is the main aim of higher education. They will learn to cooperate with peers, do careful planning and show flexibility, which the closed-book, sit-in exam system discourages. Over the last year or so, our teachers have also learned to design effective open-book, project-based exams.”

Prof Zaidi further explained: “Of course, open book/project-based evaluation is not suitable for all disciplines. Mathematics, Statistics and a number of other departments can conduct on-campus exams, provision for which is available in the new system”.

The University has also changed the weightage of marks for the assessment. Final semester exams will be of 50% marks, mid-term exams carry a weightage of 20 % and semester work is of 30 %. Teachers will design a rubric for each assessment component of a course, which will be shared with students before the start of a semester.

Earlier, the Academic Council approved major reforms in the university’s admission process and structure of academic programs.

The Council approved a policy of entrance test and aptitude interview for admissions in undergraduate programs. The Council also approved the standardization of nomenclature of undergraduate degrees.

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