By Sadia Noor Joya
Cancelling Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, Ordinary Levels (O Levels) and Advanced Levels (A Levels) examinations in May-June 2020 amidst the global pandemic of Covid-19 was a massive decision administered by the Ministry of Education in Bangladesh. A series of panic-stricken questions were shot immediately about the possible impact on the fate of this year’s undergraduate applicants.
What was proposed for Bengali Medium schools is that students will be distributed their grades upon calculation of their previous public examinations of Junior School Certificate (JSC) and Secondary School Certificate (SSC). By this time, we already know the results as they have been published.
On the other hand, English Medium schools were given two options to be decided by the students. First, either to take the ‘predicted’ grades calculated from previously attended examinations, or, to attend the scheduled O and A Levels examinations for the months of October-November.
Whilst there wasn’t a lot of fuss with the Bengali Medium kiddos, English Medium children seemed to be rebellious with the decisions made. They couldn’t digest the mess of the predicted grades and were also against the examinations that were conducted in October-November.
However, now we have bigger pictures to deal with. Although the public university admission test dates for the 2020-2021 academic year is yet to be announced, there are more interests to be poured into it. It has come to the headlines that Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), has shown interests for ‘unified’ or ‘cluster’ admission tests. This seems to be a breakthrough as it previously disagreed to the mentioned proposal along with Dhaka University (DU), Jahangirnagar University (JU), Chittagong University (CU) and Rajshahi University (RU) who constantly presented reasoning for taking a step back from this; for example, the implementation of this idea would reduce their profits that they made from different admission test being conducted independently.
For our undergraduate applicants, introducing ‘unified’ admission tests would mean that there would be only one kind of test and according to their merit, applicants would be selected into our glorious universities.
As a matter of fact, it was best to do so considering the pandemic and has been appreciated by people who spent long hours in favor of this proposal. Their reasonings have weight too. One of them to highlight would be, the burden of finding a shelter to live in and the transportation costs, availability and to reach on time if one needed to attend several admission tests and had to roam around the country.
Even so after all of these, one question still hangs in the air.
How would the admission tests be conducted? Authorities say that they are working their best to bring on the software so that the tests can be attended online. Again, discussions are also going on to make the tests in-person, following strict guidelines released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
It is indeed a matter to worry about, miles away from Bangladesh. Whatever happens, we want the best to happen to every undergraduate admission test taker and applicant this year in 2021.