- No central PEC exams for this year recommended, but awaiting PM's approval
- Students' promotions to be evaluated by respective institutions
- No decision on JSC exams yet
- All preparations made to hold HSC exams
- Guidelines made for reopening schools but date yet to be set
- 80% of syllabus to be covered if schools reopen in September, 70% if in October, 60% if in November
- Of 131 working days in primary school calendar, 30-35% covered till March 16
- At least 50 working days mandatory for promotion
- Primary schools to remain closed till August 31
- Bedu recommends cancellation of JSC tests if no possibility of reopening schools
- About 4 crore students, and nearly 30 lakh teachers and employees in 1,300,000 primary and 30,000 secondary schools
- All educational institutions have been closed since March 17
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education has recommended not holding the Primary Education Certificate (PEC) examinations centrally this year.
But the students will not be promoted automatically. They will be evaluated by their institutions.
Meanwhile, the education ministry is yet to decide on holding the Junior School Certificate (JSC) and its equivalent examinations, but all preparations have been made for holding the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent exams.
Educationists hailed the ministry's recommendations for not holding the PEC tests centrally.
The primary education ministry on Wednesday sent the recommendations to the Prime Minister's Office for approval.
Senior Secretary to the ministry Md Akram-al-Hossain said, "We have sent the recommendations, but the prime minister will make the final decision."
According to ministry sources, no scholarship will be offered this year if the PEC tests are cancelled.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set a guideline on reopening schools although the date is yet to be decided.
"Reopening schools depends entirely on the pandemic situation of the country," Akram-al-Hossain told The Business Standard.
According to the ministry's plan, 80 percent of the syllabus will be covered if schools reopen in September, 70 percent if in October and 60 percent if in November.
The duration of the primary education calendar is 131 working days from January 1 to November 17.
Only 30-35 percent (40 days) of the working days was covered till March 16. Primary educational institutions will remain closed till August 31.
The National Academy for Primary Education said another 50 working days are a must to make students eligible for promotion to the next grade.
Asked about JSC exams, secretary (secondary and higher education) to the education ministry Mahbub Hossain told The Business Standard that they had not yet decided on holding the JSC exams. "We are working on finding a better solution."
He said the National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) is working on how to shorten the syllabus. "Our experts also gave us some recommendations and we will definitely find a solution soon."
The NCTB is now analysing the recommendations made by the Bangladesh Examination Development Unit (Bedu) and the National Academy of Primary Education.
Bedu recommended that the government should cancel the JSC examinations if there is no possibility of reopening educational institutions owing to Covid-19.
NCTB Chairman Professor Narayan Chandra Shaha told The Business Standard that they organised a workshop on August 12 that teachers and textbook experts attended. "We will reach a solution within a short time."
Meanwhile, the education boards have taken all preparations to arrange the examinations even during the pandemic.
Professor Ziaul Haque, chairman of Dhaka Education Board, told The Business Standard they made many plans to hold the HSC examinations.
"We are capable of arranging the exams during the pandemic, but we need the ministry's order," he said.
Professor Emeritus of Brac University Manzoor Ahmed lauded the recommendations not to arrange the PEC tests centrally, and also urged the government to cancel JSC exams.
"Please do not hold PEC and JSC exams. Find out another way to evaluate the students and promote them to the next grade," he said.
Top officials of the education ministry on August 6 held a meeting with the principal secretary to the prime minister and other top officials of the Prime Minister's Office.
"We discussed Bedu's recommendations and what we need to do at this moment. Officials at the Prime Minister's Office will convey our message to the prime minister. We have sought a directive in this regard," Mahbub said.
There are about four crore students with nearly 30 lakh teachers and employees in 1,300,000 primary and 30,000 secondary schools across the country.
All educational institutions have remained closed since March 17.
To help students recover losses they have been facing for not being able to go to school, the government started airing recorded lectures on Sangsad Television and radio.
However, the initiative was not fruitful for a good number of students as they do not have televisions.