The uncertainty of millions of HSC examinees over taking the examination ended on October 7 when the education ministry cancelled this year's Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams considering health-safety concerns amid the Covid-19 crisis.
The decision, however, has resulted in mixed reactions from examinees. Some of the HSC aspirants have expressed a positive attitude towards the government decision, while others are unhappy that it deprived them of proving themselves. The dissatisfaction even led a student, Shatabdi Roy of Mofazzal-Momena Chakladar Women's College in Savar, to serve a legal notice on the authorities asking for the decision to be reconsidered.
"Those who didn't perform well in the JSC or SSC exams, now lose their chance to improve their results in the HSC," said Rokiya Hasan Eyefa, a student at YWCA Higher Secondary Girls' School.
Echoing Eyefa, another student Tawsif Joardar, said, "I didn't get an A plus in all the subjects in my JSC and SSC. But if we were given enough time, say two months, in a coronavirus free situation, we could do well."
"However, I support the government's decision, given the prevailing health concerns."
Not only students but some renowned educators also think that the board could arrange a shorter version of HSC exams on an abridged syllabus instead of assessing students based on their JSC and SSC results.
However, the situation gets more complicated when most public universities have started mulling the issue of not considering the SSC and HSC marks in the first-year university admission test.
Previously the marks of both examinations played a pivotal role in raising the combined total scores of university admission seekers, increasing their chances of getting selected. This issue has created new criticism.
Wadud Ahmed Borshon, an HSC aspirant at Jahangirnagar University School & College, said, "I think the board can take our SSC grade into account like the last time as we earned it based on our knowledge. Since the government decided to pass us automatically, I think they can consider some percentage from HSC grade, if not full like before."
Gazi Shahriar, an HSC aspirant from Dhamrai Government College, almost echoed Borshon's position saying, "I secured GPA 5 in the SSC exam. So, it would reduce some competition in the university admission test. Sometimes, a student could miss the desired subject only for one mark difference."
Abdullah Al Sohan from Jahangirnagar University School & College seems to embrace both sides of life. He said, "Every decision has pros and cons. It would have been best if grades were added as I got a golden GPA in SSC. However, I have no problem with the government's decision, though the competition will be tough this year".
Ruhia Rahi from Motijheel Ideal School and College thinks quite differently than Sohan. "This should not be the case as it was not our choice. Universities should find another way of evaluating admission test-takers instead of discarding SSC and HSC grades".
However, another student Kazi Maisha Sarwar from the same college supports the government decision considering completely different consequences of the decision that might impact their lives in the future.
"Though the decision is not perfect, I think it is best considering the on-going pandemic situation. If the HSC grade is added, people will underestimate our accomplishments in the future. But, securing admission in a public university depending entirely on the test result will prove our worth, and no one could call us incapable," said Maisha.
This year around 13 lakh HSC examinees will get their result in December, making history for the first time that the country will be witnessing a 100% pass in HSC without any examinations. By that time, public universities will announce their decision to evaluate admission examinees, which will decide some 13 lakh students' fate. Whatever the decision, good or bad, at least one thing is sure, coronavirus has taken a massive toll on HSC Batch 2020.