In an Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) held on 24th May, the ministers decided that the board exams across the country after 20th June.
The Conference also decided that the summer vacations for 2021 would be reduced, probably in an attempt to make up for the lost time due to the pandemic-related restrictions.
According to the statement released, chairman Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Committee Shafqat Mahmood urged all federal units to ensure timely vaccination of teachers, supervisory staff, and other administrative staff.
He said those who do not have vaccination certificates will not be called for invigilation.
The media reports mentioned that during the meeting, the National Education Framework was also shared with the provinces and approved “in principle”.
Reportedly, the meeting also discussed the handing over of staff of Basic Education Community Schools (BESC) and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) schools to provinces after June 30 with committee chairman Mr. Mahmood asking the provinces to issue a notification regarding the devolvement soon.
Educational institutions in all districts would be reopened in a staggered manner from June 7, the NCOC had said on May 20th, while all matric and intermediate exams would be held after June 20.
NCOC has allowed holding of professional exams/tests etc. Please apply to Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Islamabad with details of exam centres, number of students and SOPs to be followed. If all arrangements are satisfactory permission will be given promptly
— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) May 20, 2021
Students during COVID have been pretty proactive about not giving exams. Previously, a national campaign was held to cancel/postpone the Cambridge International Examinations, which resulted in the postponement of some exams, to the ease of students.
Similarly, both Matriculation and Intermediate level students have been campaigning for the cancellation of their exams.
The prevailing argument was that since the education quality due to online education was very low, the sudden decision to hold physical exams on a less than month’s notice would be devastating for one of the most important exams in a student’s career.
Thus, the decision made by the Conference was not welcomed, and this was evident from the hashtag trending in Pakistan since yesterday, #CANCEL12THBOARDEXAM2021, with more than 48 thousand tweets.
People have had some serious reactions to the decision. A page named ‘Cancel CIE Exams 2021’, which was very active in the campaign against CIEs has been proactive in the current crisis as well.
Various pages including the aforementioned one called for a nationwide protest on the decision of the IPEMC yesterday.
NATIONWIDE PROTEST FOR BOARD STUDENTS TOMORROW IN 20+ CITIES, OPEN THIS THREAD TO FIND YOUR CITY. ALSO, IF YOU CAN’T FIND YOU CITY THEN COMMENT UNDER THIS POST WITH YOUR CITY AND PROTEST LOCATION. #ShafqatMahmood #CancelAllBoardExams pic.twitter.com/BRKPtZU8Jf
— Voice of Youth Pakistan (@voiceofyouth_pk) May 24, 2021
This tweet has been shared by a huge majority of accounts online, asking students to come out against the decision. The major appeal by the students is that ‘it is the last chance’ to have their voices heard.
Similarly, an account known as the Pakistan Student Association, claiming to be the voice of the students, has been urging the students to come out on the roads against the decision of the education ministers.