Education minister Dipu Moni said on Wednesday that the government might extend the closure of educational institutions further, considering health risks of students amid COVID-19 crisis.
Speaking at an online briefing, the education minister said that the ministry would announce the date of the Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations next week and consider a few other options, including curtail of exams and marks.
The government in August cancelled junior school certificate and equivalent examinations and primary education completion and equivalent examinations.
A formal notice regarding the extension of the closure date would be announced soon as the prime minister and other experts had predicted that the situation might deteriorate further in the winter, Dipu Moni said.
‘The countries like UK that opened the schools had also reviewed their decisions. And we cannot put our students into risk,’ she said.
The country’s educational institutions remained closed from March 17. The tenure of the closure of institutions, according to last notice issued on August 26, will expire on October 3.
The government, however, allowed qawmi madrassahs to operate on conditions and on September 22 gave British Council permission to hold the A and O level examinations under the UK-based education boards on conditions.
A-level exams under the Cambridge International begin today and the exams under the Pearson Edexcel are scheduled to begin on October 5.
Pearson’s O-level exams are scheduled to start on November 2 and the exams under the Cambridge are scheduled to start on November 5.
Dipu Moni refused to draw a parallel between the A-level, O-level examinations and the HSC and equivalent examinations as a maximum number of 1,800 students would seat for A-level and O-level and examinations in a day at 35 centres.
‘It will be quite convenient to maintain health guidelines. And those, who will miss the exams for fear of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus will get another chance to attend the exams next May,’ she said.
‘But, holding the HSC and equivalent examinations of 14 lakh examinees is quite a difficult task amid the outbreak. Their parents will also go to the centres and many teachers and law enforcing agencies will also require to be involved in the process,’ she said.
The government at the same time cannot keep the examinees waiting for months after cancelling the examinations in April, she said.
‘Hopefully, on Monday or Tuesday we will be able to say in details about holding the HSC and equivalent examinations,’ she said.
‘We will discuss different options, including the provisions of curtailing the exams and marks. We will also keep options for an alternative evaluation for the students, who will miss it for the COVID-19 outbreak,’ Dipu Moni said.
Fate of annual examinations for promoting students in other classes will be decided later, she said.
Deputy education minister Mahibul Hassan Chowdhury, secondary and higher education division secretary Md Mahbub Hossain and madrassah and technical education division secretary Md Aminul Islam Khan spoke, among others, at the webinar.
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