The government has again extended the closure of educational institutions until November 14 to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni came up with the information at a virtual press briefing on Thursday.
The government announced general holidays in late March in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and shut all the educational institutions.
Although activities at both government and private offices were gradually restored, educational institutions have not been reopened.
The previously announced closure of educational institutions is scheduled to end on October 31.
“We’re thinking about reopening educational institutions on a limited scale considering the interest of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinees of 2021. We’re also thinking about it for other students for a short period of time, but everything will depend on the Covid-19 situation,” she said.
Replying to a question, the Minister also said the government is also thinking about reopening colleges for class XI students on a limited scale.
Answering to a question about the deferment of SSC examinations of 2021, Dipu said, “Hope, it won't require. However, everything depends on the Covid situation.”
Talking about the admission process, Dipu Moni said the Covid-19 cases might rise in December-January. “Any decision on admission to schools will be informed later.”
Responding to a question over the admission process of the universities, the minister said, “Everything will be decided keeping in mind the coronavirus situation. Besides, the 4th year students under the National University who have already sat for five examinations can’t be evaluated without taking examinations as they'll represent themselves as job seekers and this will also be kept in our mind.”
She also urged the authorities concerned of the educational institutions to refrain from taking unnecessary fees from guardians during the closure of the institutions.
“We'll give directives in this regard but the school authorities can take fees needed for operating the institutions,” said Dipu.
Besides, no textbook festival will be held next year and steps will be taken to reach the books to the students in time, she said.
Deputy Education Minister Barrister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Naoufel was present there.
Annual exams for secondary school students
The government has decided not to hold any annual examination for secondary school students this year due to the Covid-I9 pandemic.
Besides, the Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Junior Dakhil Certificate (JDC) examinations will not be held this year.
“No examination will be held this year and the students will be promoted to the next class without facing any examination. A decision about certificates will be taken later," said Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on October 2I.
Talking about the evaluation process, the minister said, “The evaluation of their mark will be done with their previous results as the teachers have the idea about their students.”
The decision on enrolling class VIII students in Science, Humanities and Commerce sections will be taken later, she added.
The National Curriculum Board will prepare a syllabus for completing it within 30 working days for upgrading them to the next class, she said.
Referring to extending the academic year, the minister said, “We'll keep it in mind and whether it's needed or not to be decided later.”
About the next year's admission process, Dipu said no decision has been taken yet in this regard.
No HSC exam this year
Meanwhile, the government decided to not to take any Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent examinations due to coronavirus pandemic.
Besides, there will be no Primary Education Completion (PEC) and its equivalent Ebtedayee examination for 2020 and the students will be promoted to the next class through class assessment instead.
Education Minister Dipu Moni on September 30 said they are making plans considering various alternatives since experts have warned about the possible second wave of coronavirus during winter.
UGC directives for online education
On May 7, the University Grants Commission (UGC) published a guideline on conducting courses online in light of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, including teaching, taking exams, their assessment as well as admission for private universities.
Bangladesh coronavirus situation
Bangladesh on Wednesday announced the detection of 1,493 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours and 23 more deaths.
The country’s caseload stands at 403,079 with 5,861 fatalities.
The authorities of Jagannath University (JnU) on Monday suspended a student for allegedly posting derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad.
The suspended student was identified as Tithi Sarker, a third-year student of the Zoology Department.
A suspension order signed by Registrar Md Ohiduzzaman has been issued.
A show-cause notice was also served seeking an explanation why her studentship should not be permanently cancelled.
On Saturday, students of the university staged a protest rally under the banner of ‘general students’ demanding permanent expulsion of Tithi Sarkar within 72 hours.
Two cases have been filed against 47 people including director general of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE),chairman of Barishal Education Board over suspension of a headmaster and another staff of a high school ‘without any reason’.
Those suspended were Mahbubul Islam of Guthia Maheshchandra High School and MLSS Samir Krishna Mandal.
They filed the cases with the with Barishal court on Sunday.
Director General of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE), chairman of Barishal Education Board, School Inspector of Barishal DSHE, Barishal district education officer, Ujirpur upazila Secondary education officer, deputy director of DSHE of Barishal, deputy director of DSHE, managers of Rupali Bank Bhabanipur branch, Guthia Branch and Agrani Bank Banaripara branch and managing committee president Md Aurangajeb are among the accused, said lawyer of the plaintiffs Advocate Azad Rahman .
According to a case filed by Samir Krishna accusing 24 people, he joined his post on May 27, 2015 in Guthia Maheshchandra High School. Without any reason he was suspended from his post on October 17, 2020 following a decision of managing committee.
According to another case filed by Mahbubul accusing 23 people, said that he joined the school as headmaster on April 28, 2014. He was suspended illegally on October 15, 2020.
In the case he also mentioned that on September 21, Nizam Sardar, a member of the managing committee, took the key of the school's store room from the headmaster.
The headmaster mentioned in the case that taking the key of the room where the school belongings are kept is ill motivated.
Speakers at a discussion in the capital on Saturday opposed the government’s decision of giving students auto-promotion without holding HSC and other examinations, saying it is part of a ploy to destroy the country’s education system and the nation.
They urged the government to review its decision and work out an effective mechanism like taking exams on a small scale for properly assessing the merits of the students.
Education Reform Initiative (ERI) arranged the programme titled ‘Auto-Pass in the Exams During Corona and the Present and Future of Education’ at the Jatiya Press Club.
Speaking at the programme, Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Zafrullah Chowdhury said being a doctor current Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni decided to give students auto-pass persuaded by others. “There’s no reason to adopt the auto-promotion system.”
He said one reason can be there behind giving students auto-promotion to destroy the country’s education system and force them to go to other countries like India for quality education. “Lakhs of our students have now been going to India for studies in recent years. So, unwarily they hold some sort of love for India.”
Zafrullah, a freedom fighter, said India now earns more than fifty times higher benefits a year by doing business in Bangladesh than it spent on feeding one crore Bangladeshis during eight months of the country’s Liberation War in 1971.
Referring to newspaper reports, he said India received $128 billion from Bangladesh as remittance in 2018.
Zafrullah said around 10 lakh Indians, including 5 lakh officially, have been working in Bangladesh.
Despite having different degrees, he said the students in the country remain unemployed as Bangladesh’s education quality has been falling gradually. “The auto-promotion option has been adopted to destroy the education system and quality further.”
Zafrullah said when everything has reopened after the coronavirus shutdown there is no reason to keep the educational institutions closed and cancel exams on the pretext of the corona. “This’s nothing but a ploy to destroy the nation. This government did it as it got auto-promotion without any test during 2014 and 2018.”
He said it is true that the government has been established by adopting the auto-pass system. “But why have the opposition parties long been following this system? The largest opposition party BNP and other parties of good persons like CBP are also exercising it as their leaders are holding posts based on an auto-system. When auto-pass is exercised in politics, people lose their confidence in political parties. We all should think about it.”
The freedom fighter also said as leaders are getting party posts without any test, they are also not taking any risk and engaging in any fight to establish people’s rights. “Political parties must stop the practice of political dynasty and making leaders through auto-pass. They must hold councils regularly and ensure democratic practice within their parties to get people’s support. Auto-pass shouldn’t be there anywhere, be it in politics or in examinations.”
The Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder said the prices of all medicines could be halved within 15 days had there been a pro-people government. “Medicine companies are not only making huge profits but also robbing people of their pockets.”
Nagorik Oikya convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said the government is not reopening the educational institutions just in fear of facing a student movement. “When everything is reopened what’s the reason behind keeping the educational institutions shut. You must reopen those today or tomorrow, and then you won’t be able to resist students from taking to the streets.”
He said when a government and a Prime Minister have been installed through the auto-pass, they will naturally think about auto-promotion of students instead of thinking about any suitable solution. “The country is passing through a serious political crisis as all parties here follow the auto-pass system.”
“Auto-promotion is a matter of shame. Those who’re supposed to get the auto-pass certificates in 2020, they’ll have to bear it as a stigma throughout their whole life. The students should raise their voice against it,” Manna said.
He said the county’s education, economy, women and people are not safe in the hands of the current regime as it ‘usurped’ power. “How they have become a government, Prime Minister, Minister and MPs by grabbing power. We don’t accept them and we must continue our fight and take to the streets to ensure their fall.”
Former state minister for education Ehsanul Haque Milon said auto-pass cannot be accepted as it will only harm the nation and the country’s education sector.
“The government has adopted the auto-promotion system without thinking about other alternatives. The exams can be held on a limited scale. We can also find out a proper assessment method like other countries in the world,” he observed.
Also read: No HSC, equivalent exams this year