With a curtailed number of subject-wise tests and shortened syllabuses, this year's Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinations will begin on 14 November and 2 December respectively.
The duration of each examination will be one and a half hours and the tests will be taken in two shifts – 10am-11:30am and 2pm-3:30pm.
The Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board published the exam schedules Monday, for which 36 lakh SSC and HSC examinees have been waiting.
According to the routine, SSC theoretical examination will end on 23 November while the HSC examination will end on 30 December.
In an unprecedented turn of events due to the pandemic, the SSC and HSC tests will be held only on group-wise elective subjects with shortened syllabuses.
This means there will be no tests on compulsory subjects such as Bangla and English. The assessment on these subjects will be based on the previous public examinations.
For a SSC examinee, his or her marks on a certain subject will depend on the previous Junior School Certificate (JSC) test, while the SSC exam evaluation will be the assessment base for an HSC examinee.
Therefore, an SSC examinee will have to appear in tests on three subjects while the HSC examinees will sit for tests on six subjects.
The SSC test will begin with Physics (theory) examination on 14 November morning.
On 15 November, the History of Bangladesh and World Civilisation exam will be held in the morning while the Accounting exam will be held in the afternoon.
In the morning shift on 16 November, Chemistry (theory) exam will be held, while Physical Education and Sports (Theory) will be on 18 November morning, Geography and Environment on 21 November morning and Finance and Banking on 21 November afternoon shift.
The HSC exam will begin with Physics (paper 1) examination on 2 December morning. The examination will end on 30 December with Social Science (paper 2) and Social Work (paper 2) tests in the morning and Sports (paper 2) in the afternoon.
On 23 September, Bangladesh Madrasah Education Board published the routine for the SSC equivalent Dhakhil examination to begin on 14 November.
Professor Nehal Ahmed, chairman of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka, said they have completed the preparations to hold SSC and HSC examinations.
"The examinees will sit maintaining 3 feet distances. I think we will be able to end the exams smoothly with the cooperation of students, guardians and our teachers," he said.
The government had to defer this year's SSC, HSC and equivalent examinations due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Otherwise, SSC and its equivalent exams are usually held in February and HSC in April.
Last year, results of HSC examinees were determined on the basis of their previous SSC and JSC results while students of other classes got promoted to next classes automatically.
11 conditions including virus safety guidelines
The Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board mentioned about 11 conditions in the routines including virus safety guidelines.
It said the examinees will have to collect the admit cards from their institutions, arrive at the exam centres 30 minutes before the test and no student will be allowed to sit for the exams at their respective institutions.
The Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board also said programming calculators are not allowed as the students can use only general scientific calculators.
What about JSC and JDC?
The education ministry was determined to hold the JSC and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations this year and was planning to hold the exams in November.
But, delays in taking necessary initiatives to hold the exams has caused the ministry to backtrack.
An official of the ministry, wishing anonymity, told The Business Standard that the ministry has asked the education boards to prioritise SSC and HSC exams.
In case JSC and JDC exams are not held, students of class-VIII will have to take annual exams on a shortened syllabus to get promoted to the next class. Students of other classes will also be promoted in the same way.