• Thursday, Aug 11, 2022
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School, college shutdown extended, decision on HSC exams next week

  • Published at 03:54 pm September 30th, 2020
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Representative photo of students attending class.MAHMUD HOSSAIN OPU

Dipu Moni said there was no alternative to extending the closure of educational institutes in stages due to uncertainty regarding Covid-19

Education Minister Dipu Moni has said the ongoing shutdown of educational institutions in the country will be extended further due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The minister said there was no alternative to extending the closure of educational institutes in stages due to uncertainty regarding Covid-19.

"The schools are not in a position to open at the moment; the shutdown will be extended. The ministry will announce the date very soon.”

The minister was speaking in a virtual dialogue with journalists on Wednesday.

The previously announced closure of educational institutions had been scheduled to end on October 3.

HSC exam decision by next Tuesday

Regarding the HSC examinations, the minister said a decision would be announced by next Tuesday on whether the examinations would go ahead.

If the HSC examinations were given the go ahead, the manner in which they would be conducted and how students would be graded would be announced four weeks before the start of the examinations, said Dipu Moni. 

She also said that the authorities had taken all kinds of preparations for holding the HSC exams.

She added: “We are working on a lot of things. Some people expect that the results will be published without examinations. We have set a plan for exam evaluations. If we are unable to hold the HSC examinations, then we will evaluate performance according to the results of SSC, JSC, or in other alternative ways.”

The ministry would soon announce its final decision after assessing various issues in this regard, the minister added.

“We have to make sure that no student is harmed. If an examinee tests positive for Covid-19 then he or she will be unable to participate in the exam. So, we will inform people of everything in this regard after holding discussions,” Dipu Moni said.

A Level and O Level exams to begin

However, the ministry has granted permission for Ordinary Level (O Level) and Advanced Level (A Level) examinations to take place under certain conditions, the minister stated.

Those unable to sit the A Level and O Level exams in October and November would be able to take part in the exams in May, 2021, the minister added.

Dipu Moni also mentioned that universities might also be granted permission to reopen earlier than other educational institutes, based on circumstances related to Covid-19.

Regarding a reduction of tuition fees, the minister said both school authorities and guardians needed to cooperate with one another and reach an agreement on this issue.

The minister also said the time was ideal to update the education policy. “The ministry is looking into that,” she stated.

The monthly pay order (MPO) policy would be finalized and published within the next month. Applications for MPO registration of new educational institutions would be accepted from October, said the minister. 

Golam Faruk, Director General of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, said the government would appoint child psychologists for every school to support and provide counselling services to students.

Two teachers from each school would be trained to continue providing counselling service to students, the DG added.

Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, Secondary and Higher Education Secretary Mahbub Hossain, and Technical and Madrasa Education Secretary Md Aminul Islam Khan attended the meeting alongside other officials.

All educational institutions in the country have been closed since March 17. The closure was supposed to have  ended on October 3.

HSC and equivalent exams were scheduled to start on April 1, but the exam was deferred because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the government has given approval to the British Council to administer Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations in October and November, with many questioning the decision.

A Level exams under Cambridge International are scheduled to start on October 1. Exams under Pearson Edexcel are scheduled to begin on October 5.

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

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