LAHORE - The 5th and 8th class annual examination will be conducted by the Punjab Examination Board (PEB) in collaboration with UNICEF in the first week of March 2009, earlier than the previous schedule. The decision to hold examinations early was taken keeping in view the change in academic session which started from April 2008. For quite some years, the session under the new education policy of the Musharraf regime started in September, which has been reversed. As many as 1.5 million children will appear in 5th and 8th class examinations. The last date for receipt of admission forms is October 15 (today) while schools have been directed to complete the syllabus by February 28. Those who study in informal schools particularly the girls can also appear in the 5th and 8th class examinations of the PEB to get the certificates for admission in next higher class. The PEB has been holding examinations for the last four years when it was entrusted the responsibility to conduct the same. Formerly these were conducted by the respective schools. The PEB also 'took responsibility to hold scholarship examination in 2007 for both the classes but it has not declared the result so far. The PEB 2006 examinations of the 5th and 8th classes were marred by mismanagement, protest and question papers' leaking out after which rest of the papers were cancelled. However, the board improved in the subsequent years. The PEB examination is based on No-fail/No-pass system. Its result remained 96 per cent last year. The pattern of question paper is different from the traditional one. It mainly concentrates on objectives, fill in the blanks and MCQs etc. It was perhaps due to this reason that hundreds of students who qualified the PEB's 8th class examination and took admission in the 9th class and appeared in the 9th class examination of the Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education, Lahore were unsuccessful. The pass percentage of the board examination remianed 24 per cent in 2008.