• Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 02:52 am

Uncertainty, anxiety take hold with A Level exams starting Thursday

  • Published at 10:24 pm September 29th, 2020
a level exam
Photo: Collected

A Level exams under Pearson Edexcel are also scheduled to begin on October 5

Students and their parents are in extreme anxiety and uncertainty as with A Level (Advanced Level) examinations -- under Cambridge International -- set to begin Thursday, amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

A Level exams under Pearson Edexcel are also scheduled to begin on October 5.

The government recently approved British Council to administer the O Level (Ordinary Level) and A Level examinations. Students said they have reservations concerning the approval.

The Secondary and Higher Education Division of the government approved holding the exams with certain conditions, including maintaining health protocols such as six feet of distance between examinees at all times to ensure social distancing, and proper sanitization of the venues. 

Edexcel’s O Level exams are scheduled to start on November 2, while the exams under Cambridge International are scheduled to start on November 5.

According to the conditions set by the Education Ministry, up to 1,800 students should be allowed to sit for any examination at the 35 centres across the country on any given day. 

British Council will be held responsible if any student gets infected with Covid-19 while attending the exams, it said.

This year, around 5,200 students have registered to sit for the exams in Dhaka, Chittagong, Sylhet, Narayanganj, and Khulna.

However, this move of holding the exams amid the coronavirus crisis has irked many parents and students.

“We are really very concerned. We were grappling with uncertainties and were only just recently informed that our children will have to sit for their exams amid this pandemic,” said Sakhawat Hossain, father of a student scheduled to appear for this year’s A Level exams.

“It is essential for any English medium student to have coaching and private tuition, in addition to school lessons. 

“Our children are not prepared. All the coaching centres, schools and private tutoring had to be shut down and suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” added the concerned father.

He also said that compelling students to sit for their exams, risking coronavirus transmission, is not “fair.”

“We had assumed that the exams will not be held considering the current situation, but why the government allowed the exams to continue is not clear,” he said.

“Students are not prepared mentally, nor even physically, for sitting in the exams,” he said, urging the government to retract its decision,” he added.

He said: “If any student is found with a high temperature, they will not be allowed to sit for the particular exam. 

“Now, what will happen to them later is not clear. Whether they will be allowed to continue to sit for the exams further or not, is not known. And if they are allowed to participate, then what will be the schedule for them?” 

Last week, the country’s O and A Level candidates, at a press conference at the National Press Club, demanded the government request the British education boards to cancel this year’s exams, considering the current crisis.

They also sought grades for students based on school-predicted results.

A writ petition was even filed with the High Court on Sunday, seeking a stay order on O Level and A Level examinations scheduled for this year. 

The court is expected to have a hearing on the matter this week.

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