HSC and equivalent examinees at Begum Badrunnesa Government Mohila College on 1 April, 2015.
HSC and equivalent examinees at Begum Badrunnesa Government Mohila College on 1 April, 2015. Photo: Zahidul Karim

All of more than 1.3 million higher secondary school students are going to pass this year as the government has decide not to hold HSC examinations due to COVID-19 outbreak in the country. The HSC candidates will be evaluated on the basis of their JSC and SSC results.

The education boards are facing at least seven challenges while assessing this year’s HSC and equivalent candidates to prepare their results. The complications have arisen while assessing seven types of candidates including those who have changed their group in higher secondary after SSC, those who wanted to take improvement tests and those who have shifted from technical to general education.

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Examinees and guardians are also worried about the issue.

However, several officials at the education ministry and the Dhaka Board of Secondary and Higher Education told Prothom Alo that their main objective is to ensure that students are not harmed.

Earlier on 7 October, the government announced that there would be no Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations this year due to coronavirus situation that has rendered 100 per cent pass for all of 13,65,789 candidates.

SM Hafizur Rahman, professor at the Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University, thinks even though it was right not to take the exams considering the current situation, there were options to do something different with the assessment methods

Talking to officials from various education boards, it has been learnt that the big challenge is to assess those who studied in one group in SSC, but changed the group after at the higher secondary level, e.g. someone might have studied in science group in SSC, but s/he was admitted to humanities or business in HSC. The question is how the subject-based results will be prepared as with the change of group, the subject list also changes except for a few compulsory ones.

The officials said they are mapping the subjects of JSC, SSC and HSC to resolve this problem. Different methods will be applied to evaluate those who have similarities and who do not.

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Member secretary of the expert committee formed to solve the problem of changing the section and the chairman of the Dhaka Education Board, Ziaul Haque, told Prothom Alo that various challenges are there, but the results will be evaluated by resolving them. The students will not be affected.

As many as 10,79, 171 of this year’s the total 13,65,789 students are regular examinees while 266,501 irregular candidates. There are over 160,000 candidates who failed to pass one subject in the last HSC examination while more than 54,000 candidates failed in two subjects.

On the other, more than 51,000 candidates whether failed to pass in all subjects or did not take part in the exams. Due to the government’s new decision, these students are also going to pass on the basis of their JSC and SSC results.

Besides, more than 16,000 students were planning to take improvement tests and over 3,000 private candidates who did not achieve the desired results in last year's HSC and equivalent examinations. But they are not getting that opportunity anymore. It has put up another big challenge for the boards.

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There are no JSC examinations for technical students. Again, many students shifted to general education after passing SSC (vocational). The board officials are also facing difficulty as to how the results of these students will be evaluated.

Many of students after passing SSC from an open university shifted to the general education in HSC. Their SSC subjects are different from general education.

There are some students who studied in English medium and later shifted to Bangla medium with an equivalent certificate.

There are several thousand private examinees who do not have a formal education.

There is another group of students who failed to achieve their desired results in JSC or SSC examinations, they have prepared hard to do better in the upcoming HSC. They are fearful of being affected.

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The father of one such examinee, who declined to be named, told Prothom Alo that his son got GPA-5 in JSC. But, the result turns out just above the GPA-4 in SSC. Then for the last two years the student has prepared very hard for HSC. Since the assessment will be done on the basis of JSC and SSC, the result will not be expected naturally. They are afraid of falling behind in race for higher education.

SM Hafizur Rahman, professor at the Institute of Education and Research, Dhaka University, thinks even though it was right not to take the exams considering the current situation, there were options to do something different with the assessment methods.

He told Prothom Alo that not just the seven challenges, more challenges will appear as the days go by.

He also said a question will remain on credibility of HSC results on the basis of JSC and SSC examinations.