A group of private A-level examination candidates urged authorities concerned to not hold exams amid the pandemic, as it will put students in severe health risks.
They demanded cancellation of the October-November exam session in Bangladesh, and asked for results based on predicted grades, as was done during May-June session for school students.
The students asked for the government's intervention to reach the international boards responsible for arranging O- and A-level exams, as they believe a state party will be able relay their demands assertively.
Private candidates have been staging a virtual movement on social media. They have also contacted Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, and will contact other officials of the ministry, seeking their intervention.
Contacted, Mohibul said, "Premises of all educational institutions are closed, and no physical classes are taking place due to the pandemic. In this situation, if they want to hold exams, they must obtain government approval…If they do so without approval, it would be considered a criminal offence."
Earlier, all boards that arrange the exams globally decided not to hold exams for May-June session due to the outbreak. Instead, they prepared results based on predicted grades and previous academic records submitted by schoolteachers.
Two UK boards, Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) and Pearson's Edexcel, arrange exams internationally. British Council Bangladesh administers their exams in the country.
The private candidates said students from both UK boards were supposed to appear for exams during May-June session. After cancellation, the boards gave predicted grades to school candidates only, and all private ones were shifted to October-November session, without any consultation.
Seeking anonymity, some private candidates voiced their opinions to this correspondent regarding the issue.
"Who'll take responsibility if the candidates contract the virus for attending exams? I think it'll be a bigger fiasco," said one of the candidates.
"Moreover, our education was halted for seven months. We didn't get to attend physical classes since March, nor were we facilitated with resources. There's no way candidates can self-study and sit for exams in this situation," he said.
"We want assessment-wise grades like the ones school students received, because we don't want a gap in our education. We have dreams too; our parents spent a fortune to turn our dreams into fruitful outcomes. Many students are going through mental stress due to all this," said an A-level candidate.
"Boards can easily give us predicted grades based on our previous exams," proposed another A-level candidate.
English-medium students can sit for these exams, either through schools or as private candidates. O-Level is equivalent to Secondary School Certificate of the national curriculum, and A-Level to Higher Secondary School Certificate.
A-level exams under Cambridge are scheduled to start from October 1, and from October 5 under Pearson. Pearson's O-level exams are planned to start from November 2 and Cambridge's from November 5.