SSC will be held in November and HSC in December on a reduced syllabus following health protocols, says education minister
The Education Ministry plans to hold the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificates (HSC) examinations in November and December this year if the overall Covid situation in the country improves.
The tests will be held on three elective subjects of each group and with a reduced syllabus in line with health protocols, Education Minister Dipu Moni said at a virtual media call on Thursday.
“We expect to hold the SSC exams in the second week of November and HSC exams in the first week of December,” she said.
If the pandemic situation does not improve by then, the ministry would go for results of subject mapping of previous public exams or the scores of assignments or combining both, said Dipu Moni.
“Forms [for registration] of the exams will be available after Eid-ul-Azha,” she added.
In response to a query on plans to hold SSC and HSC exams, Dipu Moni said the situation was expected to improve by the end of 2021 with the government already resuming the mass inoculation drive.
“Moreover, we saw infections dipping around November and December last year. We hope it will fall again around that time this year,” she added.
On the matter of Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) exams for eighth-graders , the minister said a decision on that will be taken later.
How will the exams be held?
Dipu Moni said: “Initially, we had plans to take SSC and equivalent exams at the end of 60 days of academic class and HSC and equivalent exams at the end of 84 days, based on the short syllabus provided earlier.”
However, the plans have been changed to take tests on only three elective subjects for each group – science, arts and commerce – of students.
The length of the tests will be one and a half hours instead of the regular three hours where students will have to answer three to four questions out of 10.
Even if the tests were taken on 50 marks, it would be converted to 100 marks, Dipu Moni explained.
Meanwhile, mandatory subjects of SSC and HSC examinations, such as Bengali, English, General Math, ICT and Religion will not be assessed this year as they were evaluated in past JSC, JDC and equivalent examinations. No exam will be taken on the fourth or optional elective subject.
Assignments on reduced syllabus
To finish the reduced syllabus, SSC examinees would have to complete 24 assignments and HSC examinees 30, the education minister said.
SSC and equivalent examinees will be given assignments from July 18. A total of 24 assignments will be allocated twice per week on the three elective subjects.
On the other hand, HSC and equivalent examinees will start receiving assignments from July 26. A total of 30 assignments will be given in 15 weeks. Each of the three elective subjects [six papers] will have a total of 30 assignments.
No assignment will be given on compulsory subjects.
"If any student completes the assignments properly, they will be able to answer the questions accurately," Dipu Moni said.
She also warned that if teachers on boards evaluate assignments with more or less markings intentionally, action would be taken against them as per rules.
However, if there is an unintentional mistake, that assessment will not be accepted and will be re-evaluated later.
As per the decision, the SSC and HSC examinees would be evaluated on three elective subjects of their group as boards had not evaluated them before on these, Dipu Moni said.
Results on other mandatory subjects will be given based on subject mapping like last year.
However, if it is not possible to take the examination considering the Covid-19 situation in the country, the education minister said the results of SSC, HSC, and equivalent examinations would be published through assignment or subject mapping only.
The subject mapping will be done based on the previous JSC, JDC, SSC, and equivalent examination results.
How are irregular candidates to be assessed?
Regarding irregular candidates, Dipu Moni said they would participate in all subjects just like the regular candidates.
Irregular candidates who failed in one or two subjects will be able to sit for the specific subject and their results will be given through subject mapping. If they had failed in one of the elective subjects, they would take the same test as the other candidates.
Candidates who want to take improvement tests, would also sit for the exams on elective subjects without their compulsory subjects, the education minister said.
Technical students would be able to attend their ninth and eleventh class examinations as well, she added.
Academic recovery plan
Education Minister Dipu Moni said as the infection rate was high now, it would not be possible to re-open any educational institution.
Recently Unicef and Unesco have called for the reopening of schools globally.
"We have a plan to make up for the loss of students due to the closure of schools and colleges for a year and a half," she said, adding that it would be implemented in phases.
"We have closed schools and colleges for a long time because we do not want to put students at risk," the minister said.
"Under the alternative methods, classes are televised, online classes held, and assignments are being given. We are also considering other plans to include those who could not be involved in alternative methods," she added.
"We have plans for those who have not been able to get admission in the last one and a half years," She further added.
Schools and colleges in the country have been shut since March last year, when the pandemic broke out.
The ministry had announced a schedule for reopening earlier this year when the number of coronavirus cases fell, but a second wave forced it to scrap the plan.
SSC exams were usually held in February and the HSC in April every year before the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, the SSC tests were completed, but the HSC exams were postponed. The HSC results were published by averaging the grades in JSC and SSC.
As schools and colleges remained shut, the students were promoted automatically to the next classes without exams after classes were held online and based on the scores of assignments.