Students from class one to nine seeking admission into government and non-government schools will be enrolled through a lottery system, instead of admission tests, this year, Education Minister Dipu Moni said on Wednesday.
Details about the admission process will be disclosed on 7 December, she said at a virtual press briefing, adding that it will not be possible to hold the next Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams on time due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The minister further said the examinations could be delayed by two months than their regular schedule.
Last year, students of Class I were admitted into schools through lottery, while students of Classes VI and IX were enrolled on the basis of their Primary School Certificate (PSC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) exam results, respectively. Written tests were held for other classes.
The SSC exams usually begin on 1 February and the HSC tests on 1 April every year. The HSC and its equivalent exams were slated to begin on 1 April this year, too, but were eventually cancelled due to the ongoing novel coronavirus crisis in the country.
Speaking at the press briefing, the education minister said, "It will not be safe for the students if we enroll them through admission tests. So, we will do everything while maintaining the health guidelines.
"This year, the catchment area – area adjacent to the schools – will be 50% instead of 40%. Moreover, in case of cluster-based admission, students can now pick five schools in the lottery, while it was just one school last year," she continued.
Dipu Moni added that SSC and HSC students will be tested on the basis of a brief syllabus, which can be completed with three months of classes.
About the reopening of educational institutions, the education minister said, "We planned to reopen the institutions on a limited scale, but backtracked on the decision as novel coronavirus cases are increasing across the country."
"Once schools reopen, SSC and HSC students will have to attend classes for six days a week. Meanwhile, students in other levels will only have to attend in-person classes for a day or two while their online lessons continue," she added.
Bangladesh has 19,421 high schools, 638 of which are government high schools. Dhaka has 42 government high schools and 321 non-government ones. There are also 25 reputable private institutions.
Additionally, the country has 135,000 government and private primary educational institutions.
The government decided not to hold PSC, JSC and HSC exams this year, due to the onslaught of the pandemic.
PSC and JSC students will be promoted automatically, while HSC students will be assessed based on their JSC and SSC results. Students will also be promoted automatically from the primary to secondary level.
The education minister also announced at the press brief that SSC results will account for 75% of the final HSC grade, with the JSC and JDC scores making up the remaining 25%.
"We will announce the result in December," Dipu Moni said.
The authorities will reveal further details on the assessment system for the HSC results at a later time.
About the school fees, she said the educational institutions can only charge students tuition fees.