The education ministry made an announcement on 7 October that the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exam will not be held this year due to coronavirus outbreak. It has been a month since then. The ministry, University Grants Commission (UGC) and the authorities of all universities are yet to decide on how university admission tests are to be held this year. The students and the parents are confused by contradictory opinions and statements. This is unwarranted.

The context of admission in higher education is different this year due to the pandemic. Students and their parents are in a dilemma. HSC results will be generated by averaging JSC and SSC results and it is supposed to be in December as per the pre-announcement. But it is unacceptable that the process of admission to higher education could not be finalised even in the first week of November.

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In 2020, the number of candidates at the higher secondary level was more than 1.3 million, all of whom will pass automatically. Of these, more than 1 million students will want to go for higher education. But there is a lack of quality universities and colleges

University level admission test starts in September or October every year. Educational institutions are closed and there is no academic or administrative work. However, the delay in fixing the admission process is unexpected. On the one hand, there is uncertainty about the outcome of the assessment, on the other hand, there is uncertainty about admission in higher education.

There are 46 government and autonomous universities in the country of which 39 enroll students directly. It was decided in February last year that all the four autonomous universities and BUET would be divided into three groups for admission test. Of these, one will be for agricultural universities, another for general and science and technology universities, and another for engineering and technology universities. BUET can lead the admission test of engineering universities and we believe the proposal is not bad.

Apart from this, since the universities of Dhaka, Jahangirnagar, Rajshahi and Chittagong are autonomous and run under similar ordinances, there may be another group of these universities. In that case, it is possible to take exams of 39 universities in four groups. If necessary, admission tests can be taken in the divisional cities. After all, given the prevailing situation, many candidates cannot stay in their relatives' homes or dormitories to take the admission test.

Students have to suffer various hardships and stress to get admission in a quality university. There is the hassle and financial pressure for the parents. Each student has to run to several universities to get a seat. Many people including the vice-chancellors and presidents of the universities and academics have spoken about this. In 2020, the number of candidates at the higher secondary level was more than 1.3 million, all of whom will pass automatically. Of these, more than 1 million students will want to go for higher education. But there is a lack of quality universities and colleges.

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At a meeting of the University Council on 17 October, the issue of online admission test using a developed software was discussed but not decided upon yet. An outline of how the admission test will be taken is needed immediately.

The authorities seem to think it will make no difference if the decision is made a few days late. It is important to do away with such an attitude. Much of the planning and preparation depends on where, when and how the test will be taken. Students will have to think about all this in advance - for which university they will take the exam and how they will prepare. Therefore, they should be informed of the test method immediately so that the they don't have to face hassle and hurry at the last moment.