The government has rescheduled and brought forward the dates of all primary and secondary school final exams so that students do not face any problems during the 11th national election, likely to be held in late December.
Officials of the Directorate of Primary Education and the education ministry said they had already issued directives to all the schools concerned to complete their final exams by December 10 as per the time frame given by the Election Commission.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda will announce the upcoming parliamentary election schedule this Thursday in an address to the nation through Bangladesh Television and Bangladesh Betar, the EC said, adding that the election would be held within 45 days of the announcement.
Therefore, the 11th parliamentary election is likely to be held between December 20 and December 23, EC sources said.
All primary schools were instructed to complete the final exams of grades one to four by December 6, DPE Director General Abu Hena Mostofa Kamal said.
“We changed the date so that students can take their exams without any possible trouble during the election,” he told The Daily Star.
The final exams of grades one to five would begin from November 29, the DPE directive said, bringing the date forward by 12 days.
Earlier, the exams were scheduled to be held from December 11 to December 18.
This change will not put any pressure on students as they are to finish their academic year by the end of November, said teachers of different schools.
They, however, feared that examinees might face some problems if the tests coincide with the campaigning of political parties as loud speakers would be used during processions, meetings and rallies.
"We usually complete the syllabi of primary schools within November and take tests in mid December," said Mohammad Shamsuddin, a teacher of Kripalpur Government Primary School in Noakhali.
He, however, said the changes in the schedule would put pressure on teachers as they would need to evaluate scripts of both the Primary Education Completion Examinations and the final exams in a short time.
Promothesh Dutta, a teacher of Noshioupur Government Primary School in Sylhet, said they were aware of the changes and were preparing accordingly.
There is a total of 1, 33,901 primary schools with about 1.73 crore students across the country.
The education ministry did not have to bring major changes in the final exams schedule of secondary schools, as their exams were to be completed by December 11 as per the existing academic calendar.
"We will not need to make any massive changes in the routine. However, all schools are to complete their final exams by December 10,” Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid told The Daily Star, adding that all schools would follow the time frame given by the EC.
The final exams of grades six, seven and nine were previously scheduled to be held from November 28 to December 11.
There are around 60 lakh students of the above mentioned grades in 20,467 secondary schools.
Students of grades five would take the Primary Education Completion Examinations within November, while students of class eight are currently taking the Junior School Certificate exams. Class 10 students have already completed their pre-test and test exams.
Like previous years, many teachers will perform duties as staff at polling centers and will remain busy with training to become presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers ahead of the election.
EC sources added that over 7 lakh presiding officers, assistant presiding officers and polling officers would perform duties during the upcoming polls and many of them would be teachers.