The government is considering whether to resume classes on a limited scale from next month for students who would sit for the SSC and HSC exams in 2021.
The Covid-19 health guidelines will be strictly maintained.
The government yesterday extended the closure of all educational institutions until November 14 in a bid to reduce further spread of coronavirus.
Education Minister Dipu Moni made the announcement at a virtual press briefing yesterday.
Because of the pandemic, the government will not be able to hold the Textbook Festival on January 1 when textbooks are handed over to primary and secondary students for free, she added.
“We are considering reopening classes for SSC and HSC candidates amid strict enforcement of health guidelines and avoiding risks posed by Covid-19,” Dipu Moni said.
She did say, however, that everything would depend on the Covid-19 scenario as transmission of the virus is increasing in many places around the world and there is speculation that there may be a spike in cases in Bangladesh in the winter.
“If the situation improves in the next few weeks, we will try to reopen classes for candidates on a limited scale,” she said.
About two million students are scheduled to sit for next year’s Secondary School Certificate and equivalent exams in February and another 1.3 million students are expected to sit for the Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent exams slated for April 2021.
While elaborating on the plan, Dipu Moni said they are planning to bring class-10 students, who are set to sit for the SSC exams, and class-12 students, who will appear for HSC exams, back to schools and colleges.
They will be divided into several groups and will receive lessons spread over several classrooms.
When asked about the possible deferment of the 2021 SSC exams, Dipu said she was hoping that it would not be needed, but everything depended on the Covid-19 situation.
She said all SSC and HSC candidates would have to go through a qualifying test at schools to appear in public exams.
On March 17, the government closed the schools to contain the spread of Covid-19. Educational activities of about four crore students are being hampered due to the crisis.
This year’s HSC, Primary Education Completion and its equivalent exams and Junior School Certificate and its equivalent exams were cancelled.
In place of HSC exams, candidates would be evaluated based on their results in Junior School Certificate (JSC), Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and their equivalent tests.
More than one crore students of classes six to nine will be promoted to the next classes this year without any annual examinations, the government announced.
Instead, school authorities will give assignments to students so that they can achieve the minimum learning outcome.
About the textbook distribution ceremony, she said, “The festival is important but it will not be wise to hold such festivals that could create a health risk.”
She added that all books would be ready by January 1 and the government is looking at alternative ways to get books to the students.
National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha told this newspaper that they will distribute 34.36 crore textbooks among 4.16 crore students.
Of them, about 24 crore books will be distributed among secondary students and the rest among primary students.
Dipu Moni urged educational institution authorities to refrain from taking unnecessary fees from guardians during the closure of the institutions. She also said the government will issue a directive regarding tuition fee realisation.
She said while many universities may be saying that they would take admission tests but all have to keep the safety of students in mind.
“What situation will arise if all universities take admission tests like they did before; [instead] combined admission tests should be considered to ensure safety of all students.”