The Covid-19 pandemic has compelled the country’s education boards to reconfigure scheduled public examinations from primary to higher secondary level, thus throwing lakhs of students into uncertainty.
Five public exams are likely to be rescheduled to curb the loss of education, sources said.
Uncertainty also looms over conducting the Primary Education Certificate (PEC) of the fifth grade and Junior School Certificate (JSC) of the eighth grade examinations, scheduled in November.
In the wake of an increasing number of coronavirus cases in the country, the Education Ministry postponed this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations, which were scheduled to start from April 1.
Besides, it will not be possible to conduct next year’s Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and HSC exams in the scheduled time.
Usually, SSC and equivalent examinations are held in February, and HSC and equivalent examinations in April.
Dhaka Board of Education Chairman, Prof Ziaul Haque, said“There are multiple alternative proposals to compensate for the losses of education during this corona holiday. The first proposal is to shorten the syllabus, and the other is to extend the academic year by two months after December.”
“Shortening the syllabus is not easy in the eighth grade. Because some part of this class of education is related with the ninth grade. That must be taught. Therefore, in this case, after completing the required syllabus, it is necessary to take the exam in at least December instead of November,” he continued.
He also said, “The only way to evaluate a student’s academic position in our country is the exam. So it has less chance of cancellation. But whichever way we go, we have to make an adjustment with optional leave. And, we have to take up an at least two to three year plan, to compensate for the loss.”
“In the case of other classes it can be assessed within what we have read. But in case of JSC, SSC and HSC there is no such opportunity. These three examinations may be delayed,” he added.
According to investigation, it was not possible to take the pretest exam of tenth grade students due to ongoing closure of schools and ‘Tests’ [10th grade qualifying exam for SSC] are scheduled for October.
On the other hand, eleventh grade students also did not take part in the year final exam and could not admit in the twelfth grade so far. But they are HSC candidates next year.
As a result, next year's SSC and HSC candidates are in the most confusion.
Besides, the studies of primary students scheduled to take part in the PEC examination in November, are also stuck. The authority is also thinking of rescheduling the examination for December.
Secretary of the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Md Akram-Al-Hossain told Bangladesh Post, “The ministry has not taken any decision to conduct the exam. There is no situation prevailing to hold the examinations now.”
Educationalist, Syed Manjurul Islam said, “It is a special situation. In 1971, our studies were closed for one year. Then, the system through which education was taken forward, can be used again. I think both PEC and JSC exams need to be postponed for the next two years.”
He said, “I think a three-year plan is needed to recoup the loss of education. We welcome the decision to take the HSC exam 15 days after the situation returns to normal. Besides, next year's SSC and HSC exams may be rescheduled.”
Earlier on March 16, the education ministry closed all educational institutions and coaching centres across the country.