UK-based education board Pearson Edexcel has cancelled its O-level and A-level equivalent examinations for May-June 2021 series.
The Cambridge International, another British board, will go ahead with plan to hold its O-level and A-level examinations in March-June 2021 series depending on the situation of a country.
The Pearson in a statement on its website on Wednesday said that the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (equivalent to O-level) and International AS/A Level examinations for the May-June 2021 series were cancelled globally.
Students will instead receive teacher assessed grades, the statement said, adding that Pearson would offer an additional exam series for IGCSE later this year and the International AS/A Level exam series for October will go ahead as planned.
Pearson Edexcel country head Md Jahir Uddin said that the method for teachers’ assessment for both regular and private students would be announced after the board would get guidelines from the OFQUAL, the UK-based examinations regulatory body, on February 22.
The British Council, which administers the exams globally, in a notice on its website states that the Cambridge International expects to run as planned the March-June 2021 exam series in all countries, where it is permitted and safe.
All Cambridge schools and private candidates can apply not to sit some examination components in the June 2021 exam series if their learning has been disrupted by COVID-19, it adds.
British Council administers the exams under both the boards in May-June in Bangladesh.
British Council, Bangladesh director marketing Arshia Aziz on Thursday told New Age, ‘We recognise that this is a period of uncertainty for many students and parents. We will continue to work closely with schools and awarding bodies to provide the best support possible for students. Specific advice for students is available in the FAQ document on our website.’
She said that students could also contact British Council customer care service through e-mail or over telephone as they were providing services staying from home amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
All information related to June 2021 exam series are updated on Cambridge International website which states ‘we plan to offer our June 2021 exams where it is safe and permitted to do so’, said Cambridge International country manager Shahin Reza in a written statement.
Both Pearson and Cambridge cancelled the O-level and A-level exams of their May-June 2020 series and published the results based on the predicted results of the students, drawing widespread criticism.
The British boards, however, reviewed the results later.
O-level and A-level exams of October-November 2020 series under the Cambridge board were, however, held globally, including in Bangladesh, as per the schedule.
Pearson organised the GCSE and A-level exams in October 2020 and the next series in January 2021.
Bangladeshi schools, parents and students said that they were confused about the exam schedules and method and demanded immediate clarifications from the Cambridge and Pearson boards regarding the O-level and A-level exams’ schedule for May-June.
‘The Pearson board should clarify its position regarding the teachers’ assessments immediately for preparations of schools and teachers,’ said GM Nizamuddin, general secretary of the Bangladesh English Medium School Association.
‘The Cambridge board also should clarify its position at the earliest whether the exams will be held or not considering the interest of millions of children across the globe,’ he said.
Bangladesh English Medium Parents Forum president AKM Ashraful Haque said that parents and their children studying at English Medium schools in Bangladesh were going through anxieties since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the education system globally.
‘Local schools struggle to follow decisions which come from the UK as those decision are taken based on the situation in the UK,’ he said.
He further said that children studying at English medium schools that follow the curriculum and exams schedules of the Switzerland-based International Baccalaureate in Bangladesh were also very confused as the board did not clarify everything.
The IB on its website, however, said that it was updating schools regularly with guidance and updates, advising students to contact their respective school for more information about IB education and assessments during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Schools can contact their IBWS manager or IB Answers for support,’ it said.
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