The Education Ministry has allowed the British Council to hold the GCSE and 'A' level examinations in January while strictly following the health guidelines issued by the World Health Organisation and the Health Ministry.
The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education issued the notice on Sunday.
It said the British Council must take the examinations in 35 venues for 1,600 examinees across the country. A distance of six feet of distance between examinees must be maintained during the examinations.
Additionally, the British Council must take responsibility if any student gets infected with Covid-19 during the exams. The ministry will exercise its authority to cancel the approval (to hold the exams) in the interest of public health.
The British Council wrote to the education ministry on 8 December, seeking permission to hold the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and 'A' level examinations.
Nizam Uddin, general secretary of the English Medium School Owners' Association, told The Business Standard that it would not be wise to take the GCSE exams amid the pandemic, but authorities could hold 'A' level examinations.
The British Council earlier said that they would apply all health and safety protocols – mandatory face coverings during exams, physical distancing of candidates, cleaning and sanitizing the venues – in all exam venues across Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet, Narayanganj and Khulna.
The students have already completed their syllabus during their online classes. Therefore, according to the English Medium School Owners' Association it would not be difficult for the students if the authorities held the exams in January.
Students of English medium schools usually take exams twice a year - May and November-December.
Academic activities were impeded across the globe due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The O-level and A-level examinees, who were scheduled to take part in the examinations in May, received auto-promotion based on teachers' assessments.