Results will be given by December, says the education minister
The government has decided not to hold the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations, in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is not possible to hold the HSC and equivalent examinations at this moment because of the pandemic,” Education Minister Dipu Moni announced during a virtual press conference on HSC exam on Wednesday.
The HSC and equivalent examinations were scheduled to begin on April 1, but the government was forced to postpone it on March 22 because of the pandemic.
A total of 1,365,689 students were set to participate in this year's HSC and equivalent examinations.
Dipu Moni said an alternative method of evaluation will be used this time.
“The HSC results will be evaluated based on the students’ JSC and SSC results and their average,” she said. “The results of these two public exams will be collected from the education boards concerned by November and the HSC results will be published by December.”
The minister said students who failed the HSC exam last year in one or multiple subjects or all subjects will also be assessed based on their JSC and SSC results.
The results of the test examination held at the colleges for HSC candidates will not be accepted. Students will only be assessed by averaging the results of the two public examinations, JSC and SSC.
In this regard, the education minister said: “Whether I will take the assessment of the test before the HSC exam. There can be many problems when it comes to taking test results at the moment. We have the results of two public tests, that's why we are going to give these results based on these two results.”
Reason behind the decision
Dr Dipu Moni said the decision has been taken considering the global pandemic and because planning for a risk-free exam is virtually impossible at the moment
“There is no guarantee when the coronavirus situation will return to normal…Accuracy, reliability, avoiding health risks to students in taking HSC exams should be kept in mind while planning,” she said adding that 30-32 working days will be needed to take the HSC exam.
“The decision to place one student on each bench for the exam and follow all the hygiene rules, would require double the number of centres. If the centres are to be doubled, the manpower has to be doubled. It is difficult for the ministry,” she said.
The number of subjects can be reduced to take the exam but every subject is important for higher secondary level students.
“The bigger risk was that if a student gets infected or someone in his or her family gets infected after we start to take exams what will happen to that examinee,” Dr Dipu Moni said.
She highlighted that in foreign countries like India, China, and Hong Kong have either cancelled or postponed public exams that are similar to HSC.
The Education Minister noted that the decision was taken after consultation with the examinees, teachers, parents, health department, and other stakeholders.
University test under cluster system
University admission procedure will start in January next year, Dipu Moni said.
She noted that there is a possibility of holding admission tests in universities in a cluster system.
The education minister said: "We hope that we will be able to take all kinds of examinations in an integrated manner this time. How that will be done in a cluster system will be discussed with the universities. There are still three months left.”
“It will be discussed with the universities and the Covid-19 pandemic situation will also be taken into consideration while making the final decision,” she said.
However, she said, the final decision will be taken in consultation with a committee the ministry has formed to evaluate the students who have changed their section or departments. The committee will now have nearly three months to address the issue.
Aslo Read- No PEC exams this year
The committee will have an additional secretary of the ministry as the convener, the Dhaka Education Board chairman as member secretary, and representatives from Dhaka University, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, National University, the Directorate General of Health Services, and Bangladesh the Technical Education Board.
100% pass rate
As the exam is cancelled and the results will be evaluated based on the past two public exams of the examinees, no one will fail in this year’s HSC exam.
Prof Ziaul Haque, chairman of Dhaka Education Board, said it is clear now that everyone will get a result according to their JSC and SSC exams.
Maintaining international standard
Replying to a question, the minister assured that the HSC results will be consistent with international standards, so that will not threaten the students’ chances to get enrolled in universities here or abroad for higher education.
“We are already in communication with the concerned international community about this,” she added.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury NowfelI said if the exams were to be postponed for next year, the country would lag behind.
"If we wait, we will fall behind on a global scale...Alternative evaluation methods have been used in many places around the world to solve the issue," he said.
All educational institutions were closed on March 16 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The closure was extended until October 31 as the situation has not improved much.
Besides, there will be no Primary Education Completion (PEC) and its equivalent Ebtedayee examination this year and the students will be promoted to the next class through class assessment instead.
Dipu Moni said on September 30 that they were making plans considering various alternatives since experts have warned about the possible second wave of coronavirus during the winter.