The half-yearly secondary school examinations have also lagged behind due to the ongoing pandemic
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has said students of primary schools can give exams sitting at home as educational institutions are closed down to prevent coronavirus infection.
However, the half-yearly (mid-term) exams for secondary schools will lag behind, following the coronavirus pandemic across Bangladesh.
“Primary school students will sit for their exams at home. However, it will not be like a regular exam but more like a test which they give in their classes,” said Ministry of Primary and Mass Education Secretary Akram-al-Hossain on Thursday.
Asked about the risk of unethical behaviour from students, he said: “It will not be a problem as they will be given a creative question paper, made by their teacher, which can be solved by taking help from the books.”
The government has already aired lessons on state-run Bangladesh Television and Sangsad TV for school and college students. So, they can continue their education by staying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The secretary said: “We cannot reopen institutions without ensuring the safety of our children (students). So, if needed we will suspend classes for a longer period, until the surroundings are safe for our future assets.”
“Moreover, the ministry will finalize some more educational platforms including radio and mobile. Teachers can also take classes on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger and others,” he added.
Headmasters and teachers have collected the phone numbers of student guardians and use them to give lessons or make assessments. Moreover, scholarships are provided using these numbers every three months.
“After giving lessons on a chapter, the teacher takes a test on it and this is what we have considered as an assessment [for the past few days],” said the secretary.
“We are preparing them (students) for the future. Teachers have been making creative questions on their own and it is good practice for students if they can give answers looking at their books,” he added.
About the difficulty level of the tests, Akram-al-Hossain said: “ They are child-level tests and we are not considering them as exams. As said earlier, they are just assessments so that students do not drop out.”
“Moreover, the ministry plans to not have any kind of tests at the primary level of education and we are working on the policy,” he added.
In the upcoming test, teachers will make the questions and send it to the homes of students, according to sources at the ministry.
Later, teachers will evaluate the test and send the results to the guardians’ phone numbers. Several volunteers will be recruited for this procedure.
The first-term examinations in primary schools were supposed to be held between April 15 and 24, but this was postponed. The second term examination was scheduled to start from August 9. However, this is uncertain now. For these reasons, arrangements are being made so that students can sit for their exams at home.
Secondary school exams lag behind
The half-yearly secondary school examinations in secondary schools have also lagged behind in the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) Director General (DG) Prof Syed Golam Faruk said they have postponed the half-yearly and other exams of schools following the Covid-19 lockdown.
The new exam schedule will be provided by educational institutions once they have completed the syllabus, he added.
However, the education ministry has given directives to the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) to suggest a solution to this problem.
NCTB officials said they will not reduce the syllabus for the pandemic situation. Rather, they have suggested extra classes on weekends to finish the syllabus, once institutions reopen.
Educational institutions all across the country have been closed since April 16. The government was forced to impose a nationwide “general holiday” till May 30 and extended it till June 15 for educational institutes to control the pandemic situation in the country.