The government’s decision not to hold HSC exams this year drew polarizing reactions from students and parents alike
Scrapping this year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, the government has decided to award the examinees results based on their performance in two previous public examinations – Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC).
Understandably, the government decision drew mixed reaction from the students, their parents and the conscious segment of society. Many hailed the decision while many voiced their opposition through different means, especially social media. Those opposed to the government decision, however, could not come up with a better alternative ensuring the safety of more than 1.36 million examinees.
This kind of decision never makes everyone happy. And, undoubtedly, it is not the best option, because it will deprive many students while allowing many others an undeserved advantage. But, given the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic, this seems to be a safe option, as no one knows when it would have been possible to arrange the examinations in person. It is worth noting that one life would have too many, if the exams were taken in person.
And, nothing should be done that can remotely affect the lives of the future leaders of the country. The government decision appears to have reflected this very notion.
The HSC examinations were scheduled to begin on April 1. But, it kept on delaying due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, keeping a huge number of youths and their families in an uncertain state. The repeated delays have, without any doubt, put the students in significant mental stress – something they should not have gone through. The decision has rid the youths of a great anxiety. Also, one might question the performance of the students in the examinations, as most of them were kind of out of touch with their books for so long. Further delay could have cost the students a full year. A resource-constrained country like ours cannot simply afford this because it would impact many other students at different levels.
Whether one loves or loathes, a decision has been taken, causing, at least, some damage to the country’s education. But, this damage can be repaired with prudent decisions with respect to the entry to higher education. The admission procedures will have to be formulated in a manner so that the students do not suffer. This year, the emphasis must only be placed on the performance of the students in written and oral tests. And, there must not be any weightage for the marks this year. The requirements for admission to higher education should be relaxed to allow more students to sit for the tests, as many students would have done better in this year’s examinations than that of JSC and SSC.
Unfortunately, the student life of many would end with the examinations due to various socioeconomic reasons. They also deserve the attention of the policy makers. It will have to be made sure so that they do not face any difficulties in finding jobs or doing something on their own, due to the unusual way of evaluating the students.