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Pakistan cancels O/A Level, matric exams till June 15

CIE exams to be held in October/November now

SAMAA | - Posted: Apr 27, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
Posted: Apr 27, 2021 | Last Updated: 7 months ago

Pakistan has cancelled all examinations till June 15, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced while addressing a press conference on Tuesday.

The O and A Level exams have been cancelled and pushed till October/November, he remarked, adding that no student will be promoted without exams this year.

We also discussed the concerns of students who cannot wait till September to take their exams as their year will be wasted. We are giving special permission to A2 students to take their exams and centres will be open for only them, Mahmood added. "Pakistan has around 20,000 A2 students."

He shared that centres should ensure that no more than 50 students are present at a time. The Pakistan Army will be deployed to ensure the SOP implementation.

Board exams were scheduled to be held in May and they have been postponed too, Mahmood remarked.

The federal minister said that they will ensure that Pakistan universities take in new admissions till January 2022 so that O/A Level students don't face placement issues.

These are difficult times and no decision is going to be easy, he said. "We have made this decision in collective spirit."

SOP violations

The government will discuss the violation of coronavirus SOPs at Cambridge examination centres across the country in a special meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre today (Tuesday), Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said earlier in the day.

A level students across Pakistan sat for their first exam on Monday, April 26. O level exams will, on the other hand, begin on May 10. The decision was taken by the federal government after a meeting with the international board.

On Tuesday, Mahmood tweeted there have been reports of poor SOP compliance outside examination centres. “Permission to hold exam was conditional on strict SOP observance.”

Ahead of the exams, the British Council announced SOPs for students, examination centres and the staff. This included social distancing, mandatory temperature checks, masks, use of gloves and hand sanitisers.

Students across Pakistan have been protesting against the exams. Some said their courses were not complete, while others raised concerns over the rising coronavirus cases.

They approached the high courts in Karachi, Islamabad, and Lahore but their petitions were dismissed.

Options available to students

On April 25, the Cambridge Assessment International Education released a statement in which it said that it has provided various options to Cambridge schools and students to support them through the pandemic.

  • In some syllabuses, candidates could take the component in a way that is easier to manage.
  • Schools could apply for exemptions where they feel candidates were not able to complete the syllabus.
  • Candidates can choose not to take a component but can still receive an overall syllabus grade.
  • Students can receive a grade when for any reason they miss some exams. Cambridge will give results to all students who have taken at least one component of the subject in the May/June 2021 exam series.
  • Students can defer to a future exam series with the same fee they paid for May/June 2021. The decision is theirs. They have till June 17 to make the decision.
  • Popular subjects in Pakistan will be offered in October/November 2021 exam series to facilitate students who decide to defer.

The British Council has announced the following precautionary measures for students, venue staff, and invigilators.

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