Advanced Level examinations of the October and November session are set to begin today amid the coronavirus pandemic, leaving many candidates and their guardians in utter dismay and anxiety.
A group of candidates alleged that they heard that the British Council Bangladesh, which administers the exams in the country, will take signatures in a consent form stating that candidates will bear "responsibilities if they get infected with Covid-19".
"We are worried about what will happen. We have to take part in the exams during the pandemic. I cannot concentrate on my study," said an A-level candidate.
Another examinee said her parents were worried about how she would be able to complete the exams in this situation. She added that her parents allowed her to take exams because she would otherwise lose an academic year.
An A-level candidate said almost all students are tensed and they are not in a position to sit for a board exam. Online education was insufficient to prepare for a board exam.
Another examinee said it would be tough for them to wear masks during an exam as it would increase the stress of an already stressful situation.
Examinees learnt from different sources that they would need to sign a consent form stating that they will bear "responsibilities if they become infected with Covid-19".
They also alleged that it was mandatory for them to sign the form.
On September 22, the Bangladesh government allowed the British Council to administer the exams with some conditions and one of that was the council will bear the responsibility if any student gets infected with Covid-19 while attending the exams.
Asked about it, a British Council Bangladesh spokesperson did not reply.
But the spokesperson said, "A consent form will be made available to candidates at the venue to confirm that they are fit to sit for the exams."
The spokesperson said the health and safety of the candidates and staffers remains their top priority and all British Council activities will be carried out in line with the Bangladesh government Covid-19 protocols.
"Please stay home if you feel unwell as we will be asking all those candidates who display any symptoms on the exam day to return home. You can also apply for exam fee refund on medical grounds," the spokesperson said.
The British Council said exam hall gate will be open one hour before and close 30 minutes before the start of the exam.
A-level exams under Cambridge are scheduled to start today, and those under Pearson on October 5. Pearson's Ordinary-level exams are set to start on November 2 and Cambridge's on November 5.
About 5,200 students in Bangladesh have registered for the exams.
The High Court yesterday cleared the way for the authorities concerned to hold the O and A-level exams.
The bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam summarily rejected a writ petition filed seeking its order on the government to postpone the examinations.
The court rejected the petition on the grounds that the O and A-level exams can be held now as the situation has become normal, petitioner's lawyer Moniruzzaman Lincon told The Daily Star.
Tamanna Tabassum, an A-level student, filed the petition with the HC on September 27.
Deputy Attorney General Noor-Us Sadik opposed the petition.