The government may defer next year's Secondary School Certificate and Higher Secondary School Certificate examinations by three to four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It plans to hold the SSC exams in June and the HSC exams in July or August, given that the Covid situation doesn't worsen. Usually, the SSC exams start on February 1 and the HSC on April 1 every year.
The exams will be held based on curtailed syllabuses, and the candidates will be informed about it by January, Education Minister Dipu Moni said yesterday.
She said they are considering resumption of classes on a limited scale in February for the SSC and HSC candidates to help them with their exam preparation.
The results of this year's HSC and equivalent exams will be published following the issuance of an ordinance in the first week of January.
Besides, all primary and secondary students will get their new textbooks by mid-January, she added.
SSC, HSC EXAMS
The government will try to hold next year's SSC exams in June and HSC exams in July or August if the situation remains favourable, Dipu Moni said at a virtual press briefing.
"The NCTB [National Curriculum and Textbook Board] will prepare customised syllabuses for the SSC and HSC students."
The SSC candidates will be informed about the curtailed syllabus by January 15 and the HSC candidates by January 31.
Talking to The Daily Star, NCTB Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha said as per the directive, they will start preparing the syllabuses as soon as possible.
"We will give priority to the minimum basic competence of students for their next level of education. We will hold discussions with teachers, experts and others."
Dipu Moni said they are planning to bring the class-10 and class-12 students, who will sit for next year's exams, back to schools and colleges.
Classes for SSC candidates will be held from February to April and for HSC students from February to May.
All educational institutions have remained closed since March 17 due to the Covid pandemic. The closure has been extended till January 16.
Around 20 lakh students are expected to sit for next year's SSC and equivalent exams and 13 lakh students for the HSC and equivalent exams.
Expressing satisfaction over the government plan, one of the SSC candidates, Rezwan Rahman from Jashore, said, "If the exams were held in February, I would not have been able to make proper preparation for the exams. But now I will get some more time and more classes."
Shariful Islam, guardian of an HSC candidate in the capital's Mirpur, said the government should prepare the syllabus in such a way that students can learn enough to do well in university admission tests and also in the next level of education.
This year's HSC, Primary Education Completion, Junior School Certificate and their equivalent exams were cancelled due to the pandemic.
HSC candidates will be evaluated this year based on their results in the JSC and SSC tests.
Yesterday, Dipu Moni said they have completed all preparations for announcing the HSC results based on the evaluation.
"There is a law regarding publication of public examination results. An ordinance has to be issued to publish the results under special circumstances."
She hoped that the ordinance will be issued by the first week of next month and the results will be published immediately after that.
Prof Shahedul Khabir Chowdhury, director (admin) at the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told this newspaper that the education boards hold public exams and publish results in line with the Intermediate and Secondary Education Ordinance, 1961.
All primary and secondary students will get new textbooks free of cost by January 15, said the education minister.
As in the previous years, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the textbook distribution on December 31.
But because of the pandemic, the government will not hold the Textbook Festival on January 1 when textbooks are handed over to primary and secondary students free of cost every year, she added.
This time, new textbooks will be distributed among the secondary students at their schools in 12 days. They have to show up at the schools to collect those.
The book distribution method will be a bit different for primary students.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Zakir Hossen said the guardians of primary students will need to go to schools to collect the new textbooks for their children.
"We will not hand over the new textbooks to the primary students, keeping in mind the Covid situation."
He said a primary school with less than 200 students must distribute the textbooks in a day, while one with more than 200 students will get three days to distribute those.
The NCTB chairman said 34.36 crore textbooks will be distributed among 4.16 crore students across the country.