Dhaka, Sep 30 (UNB) – With no improvement in sight in the coronavirus situation, the government has decided to extend the closure of educational institutions to prevent the spread of the virus, said Education Minister Dipu Moni.
Dipu Moni, however, said they are going to announce a fresh schedule for the long-stalled Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations either on Monday or Tuesday next.
“The leave is being extended considering the current situation. We must extend the closure. The date will be announced later,” she said while speaking at a virtual press conference on different issues relating to the education sector on Wednesday.
Asked about the guidelines for reopening educational institutions, she said they have already prepared the necessary guidelines that will have to be followed once the educational institutions are reopened.”
The minister said the government is focusing on ensuring the safety of the students alongside ensuring their education. “All guardians and students also have concern over the matter.”
She said everyone has questions about the annual, HSC and many other exams, but nothing can be said about this right now. “There’ll be a meeting soon in this regard.”
“We’re now thinking of various options, including giving auto promotion without any test. We’re working on these issues. I’ll be able to inform you about it soon. We’re also observing the situation in all other countries,” Dipu said.
The minister said the government repeatedly extended the closure of the educational institutions due to the prevalence of coronavirus. “There’s no other option, except this one. But students are studying online and they’re in touch with their teachers. “We want everything to get better quickly and we also want to get back to normalcy as soon as possible.”
HSC Exam Schedule
Dipu Moni said they worked out various steps regarding the HSC examinations, and they can announce the full plan, including the exam schedule, by Monday or Tuesday next.
The minister said they will reveal their detailed plans about the extent of the exams and their method.
She, however, said they will give the students at least four weeks to prepare for the exams. “We’ll try to complete the exams in the shortest possible time. We’ll come up with our all plans and proposals on Monday or Tuesday. We’ll take every step in a way so that the exams are not hampered and the students can sit for the tests without any worry.”
Dipu said they will also inform how those who cannot take the exams for various reasons will be evaluated.
The HSC and equivalent examinations were scheduled to begin on April 1, but the government was forced to postpone it on March 22 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Replying to a question, the minister said they all have the preparations, including preparing questions, for the HSC exams as those were postponed at the last stage. “But even if one guardian goes to centers with each of the 14 lakh students, around 25-30 lakh people, including the teachers, will have involvement with the exams. Most of them will use public transport. That’s why we’re taking time to make decisions on it.”
She said they will take the exams on the full syllabus since the previous tests were opposed just a few days before the scheduled time.
Dipu said they are making their plans keeping various alternatives since the experts have issued a warning about the possible second wave of coronavirus during the winter.
“Some people are seeking a process of evaluation without examinations, and we’re not ruling out this option as we may not take the exams despite making all efforts. So, we’ve to think about the possibility of evaluation without examination,” she added.
About the O-Level exams, the minister said a total of 6,000 students are set to take part in the tests at more than 35 centers on Thursday. “Only about 1,800 candidates will sit for O level tests every day. So, it’ll be much easier for taking exams, maintaining the health hygiene rules.”
She said the authorities concerned have already been instructed to hold the exams fulfilling all the conditions given by the government for ensuring health safety.
Dipu Moni said they allowed reopening Qawmi Madrasas since those institutions are mostly residential ones.
The madrasa authorities said that they will run the academic activities in compliance with the health safety rules. “That’s why they got permission from the government to reopen such Madrasas. They must maintain the health hygiene rules to avert any problem.”
MC College Incident
The education minister said they have been looking into the gang-rape incident in a dormitory of Sylhet MC College. “We’re working on finding out the ways to prevent the recurrence of such incidents.”
About the irregularities at private universities, she said, they are repeatedly asking universities to go to their own campuses. “Some have already moved to their permanent campuses. “If any allegation of irregularities is raised against any university, proper action will be taken through an investigation.”
Dipu Moni said they have already instructed all to remain alert so that the studies of any student are not hampered for tuition fees during the coronavirus pandemic.
All the educational institutions in Bangladesh were closed on March 16 to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The closure has been extended in phases as the transmission of the virus is still going on all over the country.