Asif Robin, a class seven student of Kaoraid KN High School in Gazipur’s Sreepur, was ecstatic when he heard that he won’t be required to take the annual exam this year. “I’ve got fewer worries to deal with today. I thank the education minister for understanding us,” he said. But his next remarks made it clear why he could be totally worry-free.
“I’m bad at mathematics, especially algebra. I couldn’t attend any of the classes. So I was worried about passing the test,” Robin said. After scrapping the HSC, JSC and PEC exams, the government on Wednesday announced it was not taking any risk with the high school annual exams as well amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Minhaz Talukder, a grade nine student at the Dhaka Engineering University School and College, believes the decision to scrap the annual exams from class six to nine is the right one. Many students, especially those in the rural areas, would not be able to sit the exams due to a lack of devices and network if the tests were held online, he pointed out.
“It (holding exams online) wouldn’t have assessed us properly. So it seems that the decision (to scrap the exams) is correct,” he said. “Survival is the biggest issue amid the pandemic. We can think of more if we can live,” said his mother Shahnaz Parvin.
She described the government’s decision as “timely” considering the possible rise in COVID-19 infections during upcoming winter. Nasrin Parvin, the mother of Nahian Araf Ayan, a student of class seven at the Rajdhani Ideal School and College, said the decision will help prevent dropouts.
“The results would have frustrated many students who could not prepare adequately due to the pandemic situation. This might have led to dropouts,” she argued. Ziaul Kabir Dulu, the president of the Parents Unity Forum, welcomed the government’s decision to scrap the annual exams at the secondary levels.
“There was no alternative,” he said. Faugia Rezwan, the principal of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, was also happy. “The situation is not suitable to hold exams,” she said. Professor Syed Manzoorul Islam of Dhaka University said the government had no alternative to scrapping the exams considering the factors such as many families losing earnings due to the pandemic
“The students have been off their studies for a long time while floods had hit many areas. It would be really a tough task for the students if they were asked to take the tests,” he said.
Lipi Akhter, the mother of a student in Narsingdi, thinks the exams should have been held no matter what. The students are being promoted without the exams and the inadequacies in the lessions will tell in the future, she said. Humaira Islam, mother of Tamanna Habib, a grade six student at Dhaka’s Mirpur Ideal School and College, agreed.
“My daughter’s place in the class improved from 70th to 6th last year. The assessment this year was important for her,” she said. Humaira also complained about being pressured by the school authorities to clear the tuition fees even though the teachers were yet to publish the results of some exams held three months ago.