The Qawmi Madrasa Board has decided to hold the examinations of Dawra-e-Hadith, equivalent to master's degree, from 3 April amid the surge in coronavirus infections.
While classes and examinations of all educational institutions from pre-primary to higher education remain closed till 23 May to prevent Covid-19 infections, the madrasa board pledges to hold the tests ignoring the pandemic restrictions.
Even the education ministry is not allowing any kind of online examinations during the closure of the institutions, but the Madrasa Board is determined to start the tests at a time when infection is at an alarming stage.
Bangladesh Public Service Commission has also postponed many of its examinations.
Moulana Nurul Amin, joint secretary general of Befaqul Madrasil Arabia Bangladesh, told The Business Standard that the board authorities took the decision to hold the examinations strictly maintaining health guidelines.
"We have asked the heads of madrasas to take proper steps to follow the health rules. So, I hope there will be no problem in holding the tests," he argued.
A total of 30,000 examinees from 13,710 madrassas will sit for Dawra-e-Hadith examinations across the country.
As per the latest circular of the education ministry, schools, colleges and madrasas will remain closed till 23 March and universities till 25 March.
Earlier in July last year, the government allowed the Qawmi madrasas to operate their academic activities although all educational institutions were closed at that time.
In these circumstances, education and health experts say the government must take initiative to implement its directives on the closure of educational institutions and stoppage of holding tests.
Professor Siddiqur Rahman, former director, Institute of Education and Research at Dhaka University, told TBS Qawmi madrasas should hold the examinations.
The Prime Minister's Office on Monday gave an 18-point instruction for rein in Covid-19 surge and the directives must be implemented, said the academician.
"In July last year, the government let Qawmi madrasas open while other educational institutions remained closed. Two policies in a state cannot do at the same time," he added.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said the rate of Covid-19 infection is now very alarming as people do not follow the health rules.
"The government should not allow any kind of educational institutions to open if the coronavirus infection rate is above 5%. But now the infection rate is 20%," he added.
K M Ruhul Amin, director general of the Directorate of Madrasa Education, told TBS that the Qawmi madrasas do not operate under the Directorate of Madrasa Education.
"But we have sent letters to the heads of all madrasas to follow the government directives," he said.
Bangladesh on Wednesday saw an alarming growth in the number of Covid-19 cases as 5,358 people were diagnosed with the disease in the last 24 hours, which is the highest infection in a single day till date.
Besides, the country reported 52 more deaths, the highest daily figure since 26 August last year from the deadly virus.
Earlier on 26 August, the health department reported 54 deaths from the virus.