NTS head for govt body to regulate testing services
Islamabad – Chief Operating Officer National Testing Service Dr Sherzada Khan on Thursday urged the government to form a regulatory body for across-the-board accountability of all recruitment testing services operating in the country.
In a conversation with The Nation, the COO lamented that a ‘baseless’ campaign had been initiated against the NTS by its competitors to fail the service, alleging it for being involved in tax evasion.
He claimed that the company paid Rs121 million in taxes during the last year while Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) calculations were not right.
He said that the NTS was registered with the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) as autonomous and not-for-profit company, adding that this restrained Auditor General of Pakistan from its audit as the company received no funding from the government.
He said that their competitors ‘to some extent’ deliberately launched a false campaign to fail the ‘country’s largest testing service’.
All government institutions including the Federal Investigation Agency, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) and several higher educational institutions hire the company for recruitment tests, which reflects credibility of our service, he added. “Instead of targeting the single testing service, a regulatory body could be formed for accountability of all the companies providing testing services in the country,” he urged.
Dr Sherzada claimed that allegations of leaking papers in test conducted in Sindh for medical college admission also later proved as wrong and the Sindh High Court praised our service standards. “No proof of paper leaking was found in the inquiry, so the court favoured the NTS in its decision,” he said.
The SHC judgment regarding leakage of papers and preparation of test from out-of-syllabus content said, “The report prepared by the NTS internal inquiry is categorical in its findings where there was no ‘leakage’ at all. After a careful forensic examination of the record and material, the conclusion is stated emphatically. The report of the inquiry committee set up by Health Department is much more circumspective in this regard. It notes that none of the complainants who appeared before it could produce any credible material of the leakage”.
The NTS head said that the company generated funds from fees charged from its clients and spent 80 per cent of the amount on test while the remaining was spent on recurrent expenditures. “The company conducts its internal audit and covers the loopholes identified in it,” he said.
He added that the company had adopted transparent procedure from winning bids for conducting the tests to marking the papers. The NTS head said that the company organised the tests as per the requirements given by its client due to whom the test fee varies from Rs200 to Rs1,200. “The large scale set-up of the company and mechanism adopted enable the NTS to conduct recruitment tests in all the provinces and far-flung areas of the country,” he said.
He said that the NTS played a significant role in ending illegal processes of hiring in the departments which in-fact blocked the ways of corruption. “This may have annoyed the elements that are running malicious campaign against the testing service,” said Dr Sherzada.
He said that the NTS had the capacity of conducting aptitude tests for undergraduate, graduate and PhD programmes. He stated that the NTS would soon introduce biometric system to reduce chances of impersonation in recruitment tests.
According to him, initial cost of the project would be around Rs50 million. “The pilot project will be launched in two months in the federal capital which will be extended to other cities later,” he said.
The NTS head also stated that the company also contributed for welfare of the students by awarding Rs150 million worth of scholarships amongst the deserving students during the last 3 years.
He said that Rs10 million each were spent on scholarships for displaced students of South Waziristan and Khyber agencies. “Nearly 700 students have been facilitated through the schemes,” Dr Sherzada said.