No decision on HSC exams yet

Students face uncertainty

The education ministry is yet to decide on holding the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams resulting in thousands of students being in the dark about their educational future.

This year’s examinations have been postponed for about 6 months for the coronavirus pandemic. University admission tests and higher education of the students depend on this examination. 

Recently, it is being rumoured on social media that the HSC examination is being cancelled.

However, the Ministry of Education has dismissed the rumours saying that even though no final decision has been made, policy makers have been making guidelines on holding the tests in compliance with health rules. 

Besides, they are thinking about what will be the method of university admission and higher education abroad if it is not possible to conduct the examinations.

Every year, HSC and equivalent examinations are usually held in April-May. After the results, the university admission process starts from September. 

This year, the process has come to a halt due to the Covid-19 outbreak, creating uncertainty among the HSC examinees and their guardians. 

However, the Education Ministry has clarified in a notification that no decision has been made to cancel the HSC examination.

On the other hand, concerned officials are unable to say exactly when the tests will be taken.

The decision about the examination has to come from the highest level of the government, an official said, while adding, “The date will be announced at least 15 days before the start of the examinations.”

According to Education Board officials, they plan to place students in a 'Z' shaped seating arrangement at the examination centre in compliance with hygiene rules. 

If two students sit on the first bench in a room, one will sit on the second bench. The two students will sit on the next bench again. This will ensure a distance of three feet from one student to another. If necessary, the benches will be placed farther away than before. 

The Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO) are collecting information--[about how many test centres are required for Z shape exam centres]--from the field level in coordination with local teachers.

Dhaka Education Board Secretary Professor Tapan Kumar Sarkar, said, “As per the plan, we have made preparation to conduct the examinations compliance with the hygiene rules. Now, we are waiting for the permission of the higher authority.”

Nusrat Jahan, an HSC examinee from Rajuk Uttara Model College said, “We are concerned regarding holding the HSC examinations by maintaining hygiene rules.”

Shariful Islam, a guardian in Uttara area said, “We have seen the mismanagement of Covid-19 situation with our own eyes at public transports, markets and even offices. As a result, I cannot trust the assurance. But, I don’t want the cancelation of the test. Because if the exam is cancelled, it will have a huge impact on a student’s future education.”

Rasheda K Chowdhury, Executive Director of the Campaign for Popular Education, said, “The Covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on the education system all over the world. If there is a problem in conducting public examinations like HSC in Bangladesh, we must think of alternatives.”