The Ministry of Education is planning to hold this year's Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinations from 14 November and 1 December, respectively.
Exam schedules may be announced any time as the Dhaka education board has already informed the ministry about their preparation and sought permission to publish the timetables.
"We are ready to administer the examinations any time. We have submitted our proposal to the ministry and are now waiting for its reply," said Professor Nehal Ahmed, chairman of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka.
The government has decided to hold this year's SSC and HSC exams on three elective subjects considering the setback caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There will be no exams on the compulsory and fourth subjects. The exam time is 1.5 hours and marks of the exams will also be half.
Meanwhile, the Madrasa Education Board on Thursday announced that Dhakhil examinations will begin on 14 November. The exams will end on 21 November.
Usually, SSC, Dhakhil and other equivalent examinations in the country start on the same day. The ministry is planning to keep up the practice this year too.
Prof Syed Golam Faruk, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told TBS that the ministry will fix the dates of holding the SSC and HSC examinations while education boards will publish the timetables.
"SSC exams will start on 14 November, if the Covid-19 situation does not worsen. HSC exams will start 15 days after the start of SSC exams," he said.
The government has 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 automatic promotion to next classes.
Sources at the education ministry said a total of 22 lakh students under 11 education boards will sit for the SSC exams and 14 lakh for HSC exams across the country this year.
Written tests to determine results
The ministry has decided to evaluate the SSC and HSC examinees on the basis of their performance in written tests only.
Assignments or subject mapping will not be taken into consideration in determining results if written exams are held.
"We have all the arrangements to hold SSC and HSC exams. We hope the situation will improve by this time," said Prof Syed Golam Faruk.
If the pandemic situation is not favourable, the ministry will mull combining the results of subject mapping for required subjects, taking into consideration the results of students' previous public examinations, and their performance in assignments.
SSC candidates will have to complete 24 assignments in 12 weeks starting from this month. HSC examinees have to submit 30 assignments.
No JSC, JDC exams
The education ministry was determined to hold the Junior School Certificate (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 TBS that the ministry has asked the education boards to remain busy with SSC and HSC exams only.
In case JSC and JDC examinations are not held, students of class-VIII will have to take annual exams on a short syllabus to get promoted to the next class. Students of other classes also will be promoted in the same way.
There are about 2 lakh educational institutions from primary to the higher secondary level of education in the country, while the number of students is around 4.5 crore.
Students were mostly away from academic studies since 17 March as educational institutions remained closed owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Data obtained from the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education show that students' presence was above 60% for a few days after the reopening of educational institutions across the country, but the rate dropped later.
How to bring back lost students?
Educationists fear a good number of students may have dropped out due to closure of educational institutions for nearly one and a half years.
Pointing to the poor presence of students at schools, they call for taking effective measures to bring back the lost students to classes.
Prof Syed Golam Faruk of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told TBS they have been observing the situation. "We will make a decision after observing the overall situation."