After days of suspense, the federal ministry of education announced on Thursday there would be no matriculation and intermediate exams this year in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, and students of grades 9 to 12 would be promoted. The government has framed a new policy that will govern exams or promotions to the next class in the unprecedented situation. At a press conference in Islamabad, Federal Minister of Education Shafqat Mahmood said 9th and 11th class students would be promoted to 10th and 12th. Those studying in classes 10th and 12th would be awarded marks on the basis of their scores in grade 9 and first-year exams, and would also be given an additional 3% marks.
The government has announced a string of relaxations pertaining to exams. Students of 9th and 11th classes have been exempted from appearing in the composite exams in 2021; they will only take grade 10 or 12 exams; and their marks will be calculated on the basis of their grade 10 to 12 exams. The students who have cleared all subjects in class 9 and 11 would automatically pass class 10 and 12. This will cover a vast majority of students. Those who failed in less than 40% of the subjects in the 9th and 10th class exams will be awarded pass marks. If the coronavirus situation improves, special exams will be arranged for students who are not satisfied with the current policy. Special exams will also be held for those desirous of improving their grade or clear those subjects in which they have earlier failed.
The new policy has been adopted after consultations with provincial ministers of education and other stakeholders. Around four million students from grade 9 to 12 had to appear in exams which had to be either cancelled or deferred as educational institutions will stay closed till July 15 because of the coronavirus. About exams in universities, the HEC will take a decision in consultation with VCs.
The excitement surrounding exams has gone, at least for now.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2020.
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