Girl students attend class at a school, in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Wednesday. AP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Wednesday said that board exams for students of classes 9 and 10 would be held after July 10 only for elective subjects and mathematics, while exams for students of classes 11 and 12 would be held for elective subjects only.
“This decision has been taken as students have different streams and directions so they will sit in exams related only to their particular subject of interest,” he said.
The minister, explaining the decision during a press conference in Islamabad, said only four exams, including math for ninth and matric, will be conducted. These include biology, computer science, physics, and chemistry.
No student would be awarded grades without attempting examinations this year, the education minister stressed, adding: "If we do not conduct the exams, then students will not even employ minimum efforts to study."
The minister said the exams of elective subjects will be conducted as students aspiring to opt for a selected field could be assessed on the basis of their elective subjects.
The education minister said boards were preparing to conduct exams from June 24, and now, to facilitate students, we have asked them to begin examinations after July 10.
"We have also asked boards to keep some gap between the exams," he said, as he explained the government had taken several steps to ease the process on the students as the educational institutions could not complete the course work.
At the time, the minister had tweeted that 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.
Addressing the press conference on Wednesday, Mahmood said the provincial education ministers wanted exam results to be finalised and released by the third week of September.
Acknowledging students' grievances regarding their course work being incomplete, Mahmood said this was a result of the frequent closure and reopening of schools. "It was necessary to shut schools in view of the COVID-19 situation. There was also a risk associated with reopening schools due to fear of students contracting the disease," he reasoned.
Mahmood also tweeted that all universities are allowed to open from Monday.
The federal minister reiterated the committee's earlier decision not to promote any student without exams, saying "we still stand by that decision."
"We then reduced the syllabus by 40 per cent," he said, adding that the overall curriculum and nature of assessments had been modified keeping the challenges in mind. “The 9th grade and 10th grade exams will be taken in elective subjects, and mathematics will also be a part of it. Therefore, exams will be held in four subjects," he said, while the exams of 11th and 12th grades will be held only in elective subjects.
In a tweet later, the minister explained that "the marks percentage taken by students in elective subjects will also be proportionately allocated to subjects in which exams is not being taken."
The federal minister further said that the exams will start after July 10 in order to give students at least three to four weeks to prepare.
“We are taking this decision to make the most of the current situation when COVID-19 cases have dropped," he said, adding that the committee had also decided that all teachers would be vaccinated before the exams.
National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) chief and Federal Minister Asad Umar announced that educational institutions in five districts of Punjab and one distinct in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will reopen from Sept.16.
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