The Ministry of Education on Thursday announced that this year's Junior School Certificate (JSC) and its equivalent Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations will not be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Md Adul Khair, senior information officer of the ministry, confirmed the news to The Business Standard. The ministry is working on further steps in this regard, he said.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education scraped the Primary Education Completion (PEC) and its equivalent exams for this year citing the same reason.
Meanwhile, uncertainty looms large over the holding of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations this year. Although the education ministry claimed that it is ready to take the exams any time, it is yet to come up with a decision in this regard.
Meanwhile, all educational institutions except Qawmi madrasas of the country will remain closed till October 3, as a part of the government's efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education issued separate circulars in this regard on Thursday.
Earlier, the National Technical Committee on Covid-19 had suggested the government not to reopen the educational institutions right now.
On March 16 this year, the government announced the closure of all educational institutions from March 17 to March 31, aiming to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus. Later, the closure was extended till August 31.
The education ministry earlier this month took a decision to cancel the JSC and JDC examinations for this year. Then on August 20, the ministry sent the proposal to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) to get the prime minister's consent to this.
The ministry also has created a recovery plan for the country's education system, such as automatically promoting students to new classes without holding exams, or extending the duration of the academic session to complete the syllabus.
The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE), the National Academy of Primary Education (NAPE), and the Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (Bedu) have been jointly working to make the recovery plan soon.
Addressing students Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday at a programme said, "The coronavirus period is going on. You can't go to schools. Concentrate on your study. Exams may be not held but you are supposed to get promoted to the new class automatically." "We are looking into the matter," she added.
"Now the online classes are going on through television. You have a huge time. You must concentrate on study. The same situation prevails all over the globe," continued the premier.
Professor Emeritus of Brac University Manzoor Ahmed thanked the government for cancelling the JSC and JDC exams this year. He also urged the government to cancel this examination forever.
"JSC, JDC and PEC exams are a burden on students. The government should take another plan to evaluate the students," he argued.
Meanwhile, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on Thursday held a meeting with the deputy minister of the ministry and other top officials to discuss the future education system.
After emerging from meeting, she told the media that they are working to recover the academic losses and find out ways how to keep students engaged in the study.
"We have not been able to hold the higher secondary certificate examinations [for this year] yet. We are working to find out ways how we can take the exams if the outbreak continues," she added.
"JSC and JDC exams will not be held. But we have to promote students to the next classes. We are yet to take a decision on this. We've asked the Dhaka Education Board, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education and the NCTB authorities to complete the recovery plan as early as possible," she added.
About 13 lakh students are expected to sit for the HSC and equivalent examinations this year.
The examinations had been scheduled to be held from April 1 this year at over 9,000 educational institutions under 10 education boards—eight general, one madrassa and one technical education board.
However, the examinations were postponed amid the closure of all educational institutions from March 17, in anticipation of the spread of novel coronavirus across the country.
Professor Ziaul Haque, chairman of Dhaka Education Board, said, "Thousands of students, guardians, teachers and staff would crowd into exam centres across the country. It would contribute to the spread of the virus among more people. So, no examinations will be held before the situation normalises."
He, however, said they are ready to hold the examinations. The education ministry may give instructions to the education board in this regard soon, he added.
Students of primary and secondary schools will be promoted to new classes automatically, without sitting for examinations, if the novel coronavirus situation continues for a long time.
The NCTB is now analysing the recommendations made by the Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (Bedu) and the National Academy of Primary Education.
"We plan on promoting students automatically if educational institutions reopen in December. Actually, everything depends on the pandemic situation," said Md Zakir Hossain, state minister for primary and mass education.