National Testing Service
National Testing Service - Pakistan (NTS) is an organization in Pakistan that administers academic performance evaluation tests. It is similar to Educational Testing Service (ETS) in the United States. NTS offers two main types of tests, the National Admission Test (NAT) and the Graduate Assessment Test (GAT). NAT is aimed at students seeking admission to colleges and universities. GAT is aimed at graduates seeking admission to postgraduate education. NTS exams are also used to determine qualifications of students seeking advanced study abroad.
NTS is a Member of the International Association for Educational Assessment, USA (IAEA). But it is not recognized by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC). The NTS was developed to ensure quality educational standards in Pakistan and to "provide a national scale for comparative grading between institutes", consolidating examination boards under one administrating body. According to Shahid Siddiqui, director of The Centre for Humanities and Social Sciences at the Lahore School of Economics, tests implemented prior to the development of the NTS were criticized as not accommodating socio-cultural differences, resulting in a need for "an indigenous testing service that should design and develop testing materials within an indigenous context". Prominent Pakistani institutions like COMSATS Institute of Information Technology (CIIT), Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) and Center for Advanced Studies in Engineering (CASE) have made it compulsory for students seeking admission to have cleared tests conducted by NTS.
Controversy erupted in 2007 following the mandating of NTS testing, first announced by Khalid Maqbool, Governor of Punjab, with regards to admission to universities and later set aside by the government unless the laws regarding university admission were amended. Criticism included allegations that the services were inconvenient to access and prohibitively expensive to economically challenged students. Maqbool called for input from the vice-chancellors of Punjab's public universities on 4 June. That year, each university department was permitted to set its own entrance requirements, with six of 64 departments at Punjab University electing to utilize tests from NTS. In October 2007, the vice-chancellor of Punjab University, Muhammad Arif Butt, endorsed the use of NTS testing in all departments of the university. NTS director Dr. Haroon Rasheed said that no tuition centres are associated with the service and NTS exams will not be out of course.
NTS has sought to establish a national educational standard for Pakistan but at the same time as an organization cannot and has not catered to the regionally diverse Pakistani nation. NTS resources are geographically restricted and both quantitatively and qualitatively limited. As stated by interface - an educational consultancy. Its contention as an independent NGO can also be challenged as it is affiliated with numerous regular testing centers of Comsats (as semi-Government body or inter-Governmental organization) & Public / Governmental education Institutions for their entrance / admission exams. A recent controversy of regular operational error has also arisen for Phd. assessment tests. The credibility / irresponsibility on the part of NTS officials has disqualified the candidates from applying in MPhil/PhD programs at public and private sector institutes because under HEC rules, they do not have any proof of clearing the test. The overall process lacks credibility & transparency due to the un-disclosed nature of alternative processes for any participants, when they do not fall in the norms of the operating procedure (i.e. errors / loop holes) due to complexities that arise from multifarious of socioeconomic nature of challenges in present day environment of Pakistan.  Unfortunately, the NTS management have even been caught and identified as plagiarizing test questions and are indirectly controlled by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC).
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- Atta-ur-Rahman, Federal Minister for Science and Technology. (September 8, 2001) IT – a great opportunity. Government of Sindh, official website. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Revolutionary steps get nod for educational regime. Pakistan Observer. (August 9, 2007) Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Siddiqui, Shahid. (October 1, 2007). Assessing assessment. The International News. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- CASE Admissions
- BZU Admissions
- Entry test of public universities through NTS: Governor Associated Press of Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Khattak, Khalid. (May 28, 2007) To test or not to test—that is the question. Daily Times. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Punjab University Academic Staff Association(PUASA) slams entry tests Interface, Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- NTS still in dark about entrance test in Punjab. Interface, Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- 36 PU departments hold entry tests. Interface, Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- Admission controversies. Interface, Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- 'PU all for entrance test through NTS' Interface, Pakistan. Accessed January 10, 2008.
- NTS exam will not be out of course. Daily Times, Accessed January 11, 2008.
- NTS, HEC putting students’ future at stake (January 03, 2010).
- Students demand HEC abolish NTS examination (May 24, 2008) Daily Times last accessed 17th March 2010.
- MPhil students not being awarded degrees without clearing NTS (July 20, 2008). Daily Times last accessed 17th March 2010.
- KARACH: ‘Flawed’ entry test stirs controversy: KU’s MS, PhD programmes (November 18, 2008). Dawn News last accessed 19th March 2010.
- EXCERPT: Dr. Najma Najam took serious notice of the contents of the test and identified that the contents have been taken (cut & paste) from another international test and a charge of plagiarism can be put on NTS. (July 10, 2007). Higher Education Commission of Pakistan Internet website last accessed 19 March 2010.
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