The first public tests at schools amid the pandemic are set to begin on Sunday.
Over 2.2 million students of 29,035 institutions have registered for the Secondary School Certificate exams to be held at 3,679 centres throughout Bangladesh this year.
SSC exams are usually held in February. Last year’s tests ended before the government ordered all the institutions shut after detecting the first coronavirus cases one and a half years ago.
The exams this year have been deferred by nine months as the number of deadly infections continued to soar. Classes were held online.
Officials later ruled out the possibility of automatically promoting the SSC candidates.
Instead of tests, the results of Higher Secondary Certificate or HSC last year were based on the students’ performances in Junior School Certificate and SSC tests.
Finally the government reopened the schools and colleges for in-person classes in September after the pandemic ebbed. The daily test positivity rate has dropped below 1.5 percent now from 30 percent during the peak.
Still, the authorities of the centres in Dhaka said they have taken measures to ensure hand sanitisation of the students and temperature screening in line with the coronavirus health protocols.
Isolation rooms have also been kept for students, teachers or staffers should any of them fall sick during the exams.
Steps have been taken to control the crowds of parents outside the centres.
Abu Sayeed Bhuiyan, headmaster of Government Laboratory High School, said two students will sit on each bench maintaining physical distancing. If a student has high temperature, they will be able to continue taking the test at the isolation room. The centre will also make announcement via loudspeakers asking the parents not to crowd outside.
Motijheel Ideal School and College’s seating arrangements seat one student on one bench, said Principal Shahan Ara Begum.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police have banned visitors 200 metres from the centres.
Education Minister Dipu Moni also urged the students and parents to follow the health rules properly.
The government has decided to hold the SSC and HSC tests this year on reduced syllabuses of three elective subjects considering the setback caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
There will be no exams on the compulsory and fourth subjects, for which the students will be graded through subject mapping following an expert committee’s recommendation.
The exam period has also been cut to one and a half hours. The students must enter the centres half an hour before the exams.