Secondary-level students will be promoted to the next classes without having to participate in annual examinations amid the Covid-19 crisis in Bangladesh.
Making the announcement in a virtual press conference on Wednesday, Education Minister Dipu Moni said, "The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has prepared a short new syllabus for students that must be completed within 30 working days.
"Teachers will provide weekly assignments to the students, which can also be collected online. The students will have to submit the assignments within a week after issuance. Teachers will then evaluate those assignments and focus on fixing the students' weaknesses."
She further added, "We will identify the students' weaknesses and take initiatives accordingly for the next year. Through assignment evaluation, we will also be able to detect students who missed online classes during the pandemic.
"Students who do not have access to TVs or websites should contact their educational institutions for collecting syllabus and assignments. Students who have moved from one place to another can collect their assignments from the nearest educational institutions."
Speaking about the admission process, the education minister said, "The ministry is yet to take any decision in this regard. Besides, we have not yet made any decision on extending the academic year. But it is under consideration, and it will depend on the coronavirus situation.
"I hope that the Covid-19 situation will improve next year, and it will not harm the schedule for SSC and HSC exams which are usually held in Bangladesh in February and March. The next SSC and HSC exams will be held in 2021."
She advised the next year's SSC and HSC candidates to prepare at home and participate in online classes.
At the press conference, Dipu Moni also hinted that the educational institutions will not be opened in November this year, saying, "Under the current circumstances, educational institutions are in the process of closing in most of the countries where they had reopened.
"There are concerns about the second wave of Covid-19 everywhere, which is backed by experts. That is why we will discuss the matter [of reopening educational institutions] with the National Advisory Committee on Covid-19."
She concluded by saying, "We can reopen the institutions when we believe that our students, teachers and parents will face little to no health risks. It is difficult to say at this time when it will happen."
On 16 March, the education ministry issued a statement announcing the government's decision to keep all educational institutions and coaching centres shut for 18-31 March, taking into consideration the students' safety amid the pandemic.
Under such circumstances, this year's Primary Education Completion (PEC), Ebtedayee Madrasa Certificate (EEC), Junior School Certificate (JSC), Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations have been canceled.
The government has already announced to promote the PEC and JSC students to the next classes without examinations. And the HSC examinees will get their results on the basis of their JSC and SSC results.
Classes have remained suspended since 18 March, although the administrative activities of the institutions gradually resumed. The government recently extended the closure of all educational institutions till 31 October.