The Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training, Shafqat Mahmood Sunday reiterated that promoting students without examinations is almost impossible this year.
Speaking about the issue on a private news channel, the PTI leader said the authorities witnessed several irregularities in the grading system after deciding to promote the students last year. Many performing students had been given poor grades whereas the British Council also agreed to conduct exams following the Covid related SOPs.
‘No one could predict the future of the ongoing pandemic. Also, the decisions of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) were not solely taken by me’, he responded to a query.
All provincial ministers attended the NCOC sessions and the decisions have been taken with a consensus.
The ruling party leader also mentioned that a number of parents also favoured examinations and are requesting the authorities to conduct exams as their children have completed their preparations.
Expressing discontent on the matter, he added that at least five million students had been promoted without exams last year and if we continue promoting without taking exams, children will stop continuing to study. Grades will not be awarded to anyone without appearing in the exams, he clarified.
No exam till June 15
A few days ago, addressing a press conference in Islamabad after a special NCOC meeting, he said O and A level exams had been cancelled and would now take place in the October-November cycle. However, A2 exams will keep running for those students who want to appear for the purpose of applying to foreign universities.
“It has been directed strictly that after Monday, more than 50 people will not be in one centre. For that we have requested that schools be made venues,” the minister said, adding that law enforcement personnel will be deployed to maintain discipline.
In a tweet, Mahmood said the decision had been taken to address the “health concerns of students and parents”.
“All exams cancelled till June 15 and depending on the spread of the disease may even go further,” he wrote.
He said Cambridge exams had been postponed till Oct-Nov for all grades, while the only exception was for those A2 students “who have a compulsion to take [the] exam now”.
According to the minister, university admissions in Pakistan will be aligned for grade 12 and A2 students who will be taking exams in Oct-Nov. “This is to ensure no one loses a year,” he wrote.
The decision comes after widespread calls from students, activists and politicians for the government to cancel the Cambridge exams in view of the third coronavirus wave.