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This year 930,208 students, including 548,434 boys and 381,774 girls sat for the nationwide university entrance exams.
This year 930,208 students, including 548,434 boys and 381,774 girls sat for the nationwide university entrance exams.

Konkur: Rocky Stuff That Will Not Go Away

Konkur: Rocky Stuff That Will Not Go Away

Every year in June high school graduates coveting a seat in state or private universities sit for the university entrance exam, popularly known as Konkur. This competitive nationwide test is the sole criterion for the large numbers seeking access to centers of higher learning.
However, over the past several years the number of university applicants has almost always been less than the total number of seats available. Private universities, which charge higher tuition fees than state universities, have seen thousands of their seats vacant for extended periods. But the fierce competition goes on among students, more so for admission to top government universities, Qodsonline reports.
For years, authorities and sections of the academia have proposed schemes for eliminating the entrance exam and replacing it with merit-based criteria. As per a regulation introduced in the Iranian fiscal March 2013-14, admission to university is to gradually move to valuing cumulative grade-point average (GPA) of the students in their final three years of high school.
The regulation anticipated that in five years, that is by 2018, at least 85% of student admissions to universities would be GPA-based. It also proposed that Konkur be limited to the selection of students in top universities and highly competitive majors.
However, last year, Head of the National Organization for Educational Testing, Ebrahim Khodai dashed all hopes of assigning Konkur to history anytime soon. “There is no hope of being able to eliminate Konkur for popular majors in the next five to six years.”
This means that the disliked Konkur is here to stay for several more years along with months and months of sleepless nights coupled with fear, anxiety and distress for the would-be students and their parents.
While securing a high score in Konkur remains an obsession and top priority for high-school graduates, families more than ever before are carrying the burden of costly preparation courses for their children. Over the years, many institutions have mushroomed across the country, charging whooping amounts for their Konkur preparatory courses.  
The tuition fees of these institutions range anywhere between 5 million rials ($129) up to over 10 million rials ($258) for each subject. Yet, most families (even the less affluent) are willing to pay in the hope of securing a decent and stable future for their children.
This year 930,208 students, including 548,434 boys and 381,774 girls sat for the nationwide university entrance exams. The figure is a marked decline since 2008  when 1.4 million took the exam.

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