Govt mulls shorter HSC test schedule, fewer subjects

Education Minister Dipu Moni yesterday said the government was considering to cut short the exam days and number of subjects of Higher Secondary Certificate and its equivalent exams which were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking at a webinar, the minister said they were also thinking of shortening some holidays of the rest of 2020 and 2021 academic calendar years so that students do not miss lessons.

“There is no need to reduce the syllabus for this year’s HSC exams as the students have already completed it,” Dipu Moni said.

Education Reporters Association of Bangladesh organised the webinar titled “Challenges in education from novel coronavirus and what needs to be done.”

The minister said HSC exams would begin 15 days after return of normalcy from the coronavirus situation. As it is a public exam, it may put lakhs of people, including students, guardians, and members of law enforcement agencies, at health risk.

“So we are considering to cut short exam days and subjects of the HSC exams,” she said.

The HSC and its equivalent exams were scheduled to being on April 1. More than one million students are expected to take the exams at over 9,000 educational institutions across the country.

Dipu Moni said they may expand the academic calendar for the secondary students to February next year to make up for academic losses caused by the school closure.

Other alternatives like reducing the school syllabus and shortening holidays were also under consideration, she said.

“We cannot take classes for more than 140 to 142 days in an academic year as there are various vacations and programmes. So we are thinking about cutting the holidays for the rest of the tenure of the 2020 academic year and 2021 academic year,” she added.

Emeritus Professor Manzoor Ahmed of Brac University proposed cancelling the Primary Education Completion Examinations (PECE) and equivalent exams after class-V and Junior School Certificate (JSC) and equivalent exams after class-VIII for at least the current academic year.

Rasheda K Choudhury, executive director of Campaign for Popular Education, demanded the government cancel its decision of raising supplementary duty on mobile phone services so that students can avail online education without having any additional financial burden on them.

Dipu Moni said she believes that the government would reduce the supplementary duty on mobile phone services.

Secondary and Higher Education Secretary Mahbub Hossain and leaders of Education Reporters Association of Bangladesh, Mostak Ahmed and Sabbir Newaj, also spoke at the programme.


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