Two million students sat for SSC and equivalent exams nearly seven months after they were initially scheduled due to delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic and floods.
The public exams kicked off with the Bangla first paper test at 3,790 centres across the country on Thursday.
Following the reduction of exam durations to two hours, the tests began at 11 am on Thursday and will continue until 1 pm.
Delayed by three months due to the pandemic, the SSC and equivalent exams were supposed to be held in June, but devastating floods right before the tests pushed it further back.
Crowds of students and guardians could be seen at the exam centres in Dhaka before they opened.
Students at the Mirpur MDC Model Institute exam centre started entering around 10 am, while others hurriedly conducted some last-minute revisions.
Though students were instructed to enter centres at least a half-hour before the start of the test, many were late. The names, roll numbers, entry time and reason for being late were noted down.
Law enforcers also moved the crowd of guardians from in front of the exam centre to preserve order.
“Students faced no issues entering the exam centre,” said Aleya Parvin, the mother of an examinee from Dr Muhammad Shahidullah School. “The police have moved the guardians away from the centre. Traffic was blocked on either side of the school, so examinees were able to enter easily.
A group of students were waiting outside the exam centre from 9:30 am.“We got a lot of time to prepare for the exams,” said Afroza Islam from Kalshi Islamia High School. “I am pretty well prepared. I was worried about the rain, but it was sunny this morning and that lifted my spirits.”
Bangabandhu Vidyaniketan student Mahfuz Ahmed wasn’t worried either.“I’m not too tense about the exams. The syllabus was shortened. I revised it a few times. Let’s see what happens.”
This year, about 1.6 million students are giving the exams under the nine general education boards, while 268,495 students are sitting for the Dakhil exams under the Madrasa Board and 153,662 are sitting for the vocational exams under the Technical Education Board.
Of the general education board, 508,236 students are in the science section, 790,091 are in humanities and 301,384 are in business studies.
This year, 367 students are giving their exams at eight centres outside Bangladesh.
The number of examinees has dropped by 221,386 since 2021. Last year’s exams were delayed by eight months to November due to the pandemic.
The pandemic forced a delay of four-and-a-half months this year, and the government set Jun 19 for the exams. However, floods in several districts forced another delay, shifting the tests back another three months.
Due to the interruptions to schooling, an abbreviated syllabus was set for the exams. Several subjects, including Religious and Moral Studies, Information and Communication Technology, Bangladesh and World Identity and Science are being evaluated through subject mapping.
Meanwhile, the Bangla second paper, and the English first and second papers will be evaluated out of 50 marks. The duration for all exams was also reduced to two hours.