- The NCTB planned to implement the packages in classrooms alongside regular lessons
- Those were prepared with specific topics selected from all subjects from the syllabi of the previous grades
- The packages, together named the Remedial Package, are aimed at allowing students to reach expected competencies in basic subjects
The implementation of two remedial packages that the government prepared to recover students' learning losses has become uncertain due to the latest extension of school closures.
The education ministry is also planning to modify the packages and shorten this year's syllabi.
Prof Narayan Chandra Saha, chairman of the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB), told The Business Standard on Friday they had planned to execute the remedial packages on 30 March but that has become uncertain.
"We must think more in this regard. We will modify the packages if the situation demands it," he said.
The NCTB planned to implement the packages in classrooms alongside regular lessons. Those were prepared with specific topics selected from all subjects from the syllabi of the previous grades of the students.
The packages, together named the Remedial Package, are aimed at allowing students to reach expected competencies in basic subjects.
Mominur Rashid Amin, additional secretary (secondary) to the education ministry, told The Business Standard they will hold a meeting soon to shorten the syllabi – as students will have already lost five months of the academic year by the time the schools reopen.
"It is true that it will not be possible to cover the full syllabi in the remaining seven months. Our minister or secretary will announce the next measures in this regard," he said.
Meanwhile, education experts have asked the government to undertake an effective initiative to bring students back to studying, and recover learning losses by reopening schools while maintaining health guidelines.
Dr Manzoor Ahmed, professor emeritus at Brac University, said the government must recover the learning losses at any cost.
"Otherwise, we will get a crippled future generation," he warned.
He said it will be impossible to implement the remedial packages and the government must shorten the existing syllabi as the academic year has already been shortened due to the further extension of school closures.
"The government must formulate a two-year plan for learning recovery that will include basic topics from Bangla and mathematics for primary students, and Bangla, mathematics, English, and science for secondary pupils," he added.
"No more subjects and topics should be allowed this year and next year. The government must also make an individual plan for each school and allocate funds to implement them," he said.
The educationist further said it is not a wise decision to keep all educational institutions closed.
He said the government could reopen schools in some remote and rural areas where the infection rate is low.
"At the same time, it can resume classes for IV, V, X, and XII students," he added.
It was decided on Thursday that schools and colleges across the country would reopen on 23 May after more than a year of being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
SSC, HSC exams to be delayed again
When schools reopen, Secondary School Certificate (SSC) students will attend classes for 60 days, and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) pupils for 80 days. Both groups will have 15 days to prepare for examinations after completing the short syllabi.
Earlier, the education ministry planned to hold this year's SSC and HSC examinations in June and July, respectively. Now it has no scope to hold the SSC tests before October and HSC exams before November.
Usually, SSC tests are held on 1 February, and HSC exams on 1 April, every year.
JSC, JDC exams also uncertain
The ministry is contemplating not holding the Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations this year.
Wishing anonymity, a ministry official said they will try to hold short tests in classrooms instead.
"If these tests cannot be arranged, all JSC and JDC students will be promoted automatically like last year," he added.
The government, on 16 March last year, decided to shut down all educational institutions and coaching centres for the sake of students' safety. The closure was later extended multiple times.
The government did not hold Primary School Certificate (PSC) and JSC exams last year either due to the pandemic. The students were promoted automatically while HSC examinees were assessed based on their JSC and SSC results.
All students from primary to secondary level were also promoted to the next grades automatically.
About 4.5 crore students from pre-primary to higher education are enrolled in nearly two lakh educational institutions across the country.