Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has announced that the schedule for Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations will be released next Monday or Tuesday.
Making the announcement at a virtual meet with journalists on Wednesday, the minister said, "Students will be promoted if it becomes impossible to hold the examinations. In that case, their JSC and SSC results will be considered as base results."
She further said, "We have made all the preparations to hold the exams, and even prepared the question papers. Twenty-five to thirty lakh students, guardians, observers and law enforcers are involved with the exams.
"Most will use public transportation during the entire examination period, which might cause a surge in Covid-19 cases. We will take special care of HSC examinees if they contract the novel coronavirus.
Besides, Dipu Moni added that educational institutions across the country will remain shut until further notice, as it is still not the right time for these institutions to reopen.
"The new date for reopening the institutions will be announced later," she told journalists.
The Education Minister continued, "We have observed that many countries had to close their educational institutions again, even after resuming in-person academic activities. We are still in danger. This is still not the right time to reopen our educational institutions.
"We will discuss reopening public universities and make a decision soon."
About the tuition fees, Dipu Moni said, "We cannot allow any students to drop out due to their inability to pay tuition fees. We have directed the educational institutions to make a list of financially disadvantaged guardians and reduce their children's fees.
"Expenses have actually not gone down for the schools. They have to pay salaries to their teachers and staff. They basically depend on the students' fees. We must also think about the educational institutions."
Deputy Education Minister, Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, urged the media to raise public awareness about the novel coronavirus. Covid-19 cannot be eliminated permanently, and we have to live with it.
"People should prepare themselves to tackle the Covid-19 crisis. Otherwise, it will be difficult to reopen the educational institutions."
Secretary (Secondary and Higher Education division) of the Education Ministry, Md Mahbub Hossain, said the Ministry will disburse soft loans to students of public universities to enable them to buy digital devices.
Meanwhile, Director General of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, Professor Syed Md Golam Faruk said, "The government will appoint psychiatrists at each district, and they will train at least two teachers from every institution to provide emotional and psychological support to the students.
On September 24, the education boards claimed that they are prepared to hold the HSC and equivalent examinations while maintaining health guidelines, saying they need 15 days to make the arrangements.
About 13 lakh students were expected to sit for the examinations that were scheduled to start from April 1. The exams were meant to be held at over 9,000 educational institutions under 11 education boards – nine general, one madrasa and one technical education board.
On March 16, the Ministry of Education issued a press release announcing the government's decision to close all educational institutions and coaching centres from March 18-31, taking into consideration students' safety amidst the global pandemic.
Classes have been suspended since that day, although administrative activities gradually resumed.
The Ministry has extended the closure on several occasions. First till April 9, then April 25, May 5, May 30, August 6, August 31 and finally until October 3.