No ‘auto pass’: Government to hold SSC, HSC exams this year


SSC, HSC exams likely to be held between September and December

Unlike last year, the government is planning to hold Secondary School Certificate (SSC), the Higher Secondary Certificates (HSC) and equivalent examinations this year, with the aim to avoid the “auto pass” method that created massive criticism.

The Education Ministry has already finalized a policy and taken some steps in this regard. It is focused on arranging the two biggest public examinations under shortened syllabus, ensuring health norms by any means.

Previously, the government announced reopening schools and colleges on May 23 if the Covid-19 pandemic can be controlled. If so, the SSC exams may be held in September or October and the HSC tests later this year.

“We will not follow any alternative method to evaluate the performance of the SSC and the HSC students this year regardless of the Covid-19 situation. We’ll ask the teachers to convey the message to their students so they take preparation for the exams seriously,” said Md Mahbub Hossain, secretary of the Secondary and Higher Education Division.
Last year’s SSC aspirants finished their syllabus before the Covid-19 pandemic had started, while the HSC candidates completed a basic part by that time. Even though the SSC exams were held, the authorities concerned had to cancel the HSC exams due to the outbreak.

The government then chose to go for an “auto pass” system – a method of evaluation made comparing the results of the SSC and the Junior School Certificate exams.

“But this time around, the students will be taught shortened syllabus and the SCC students will attend 60 days of classes and the HSC students for 80 days whenever the educational institutes are reopened. The exams will be taken in line with the syllabus,” the secretary said.
There would be a gap of two weeks between the completion of classes and the exams, he said, adding: “If the reopening is delayed by one month or two, the exams will be deferred too. But the classes will continue.”

Vowing that the decision would not be changed, Mahbub said: “We do not want the students to have certificates without classes and exams.”

Director General of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) Syed Md Golam Faruk said that they had already asked all education boards to start taking preparation to hold the examinations.

Concern over ‘auto-pass’

Before the Covid-19 crisis, the SSC exams started on February 1 and the HSC on April 1.

But since the pandemic unfolded in the country, the government was forced to either cancel or delay the major public exams.

Renowned educationist Rasheda K Chowdhury said that even though the SSC examinees of 2020 were given “auto pass”, they had completed their studies through classes and prepared themselves for the exams.

“So, it won’t be wiser to repeat the ‘auto pass’ as it’ll put students into trouble in future. They’ve to complete minimum lessons through classes,” she opined.
Eminent academic Prof Manzoor Ahmed said that in absence of in-person classes last year, online classes and parliamentary television repaired the loss to some extent.

“Since the government is determined to take the exams this year, this ‘auto-pass’ system should be dropped from the education system,” he suggested.

Prof Shaikh Ekramul Kabir, a member of the Education Policy-2010 Formulation Committee, said that the students’ merits are assessed through exams. “There should be no alternative to exams,” he said.

The year of ‘auto pass’

The results of last year’s HSC and equivalent examinations witnesses a 100% pass rate, as the government published them without holding the tests.

A total of 1,145,329 students registered last year and passed the HSC exams from nine general education boards, some 88,302 passed Alim from the Madrasa Board, and 133,746 cleared the exams from the Technical Education Board.

A total of 161,807 students achieved GPA-5. Of them, a total of 57,926 student got GPA 5 from Dhaka Board; 26,568 from Rajshahi Board; 9,364 from Comilla; 12,892 from Jessore; 12,143 from Chittagong; 5,568 from Barisal; 4,242 from Sylhet; 14,871 from Dinajpur; and 10,040 from Mymensingh.

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