School closure due to the pandemic will be extended and the decision on holding the postponed Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations will be announced on Monday or Tuesday.
If there is any exam, the candidates will be informed at least four weeks before, said Education Minister Dipu Moni at a views-exchange programme with reporters yesterday.
"The situation is still not favourable for reopening schools, so school closure will be extended. We will let you know soon," she said at the virtual programme.
On March 17, the government closed the schools to contain the spread of Covid-19. The closure was extended till October 3. The long closure has led to the cancellation of exams and left academic calendars in disarray.
"We will announce our specific plans regarding holding and management of HSC exams on Monday or Tuesday," the minister said.
HSC and its equivalent exams slated for April 1 were postponed on March 22 in fear of coronavirus transmission. More than 13 lakh students were expected to take part in the exams.
Dipu Moni said they were earlier considering to give 15 days to students before the exams begin, but they are now considering to give them four weeks.
She said the government will have an alternative mechanism for any students who will not be able to sit for exams due to coronavirus infection.
The government is working on different options regarding the HSC exams, the minister added.
"We are working on a range of possibilities -- how the exams can be held within the shortest possible time, on how many subjects, and on how much marks," Dipu Moni said.
She added that preparing HSC result based on examinees' JSC and SSC results is another option in their consideration. "Some people want evaluation without any exams [HSC] … the option remains open. We are keeping a range of options open."
The minister said if the government does not hold the exams, this year's HSC candidates can face different unwanted comments from some people as they will be promoted without exams.
Dipu Moni said the mechanism for holding annual exams for class-VI, VII and others at schools will be declared soon.
Talking about some English medium and private schools that are compelling guardians to pay tuition fees at a time when many parents lost their income sources due to the pandemic, the minister said both the school authorities and guardians have to act rationally.
She urged the school authorities to take the fees in instalments and give discounts if possible. She also urged the guardians, who have the ability, to clear the fees.
"But no students should be disallowed to attend classes for not paying tuition fees," Dipu Moni said.
Educational activities of about four crore students are being hampered due to the coronavirus crisis. This year's Primary Education Completion and its equivalent exams and Junior School Certificate and its equivalent exams were cancelled.
The government started tele education through Sangsad TV for secondary students on March 29, for primary students on April 7, and for technical and madrassa students on April 19 so that students can make up for some of their losses due to closure of the educational institutions.
Deputy Education Minister Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury, Secondary and Higher Education Division Secretary Mahbub Hossain, and Technical and Madrasa Education Division Secretary Aminul Islam Khan also spoke at the programme.
They talked about the government's initiatives for dealing with the coronavirus situation and their work to develop the education sector and ensure quality education.