A levels final year students to get provisional admission: HEC

ISLAMABAD: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has decided to provide provisional admission to A2 students, whose Cambridge exams have been postponed to October-November, in the Fall 2021 semester in universities to avoid their loss.

O-A levels students in most of the other countries have been allowed by the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) to have school assessed grades but in Pakistan, apparently due to a weak regulatory check the CIE is going to hold physical examination in October-November. But, there is no certainty as to how the health pandemic and its containment measures unfold by then.

However, HEC on Friday decided to allow provincial admissions in universities to students of A2 to save their academic year.

“HEC after consultations with the Covid-19 oversight committee representing vice chancellors from each province and region and heads of a few private sector universities has agreed to provide provisional admission to A2 students in the Fall 2021 semester so that they would not waste a session,” said a press release issued by HEC.

It said on the direction of the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood to ensure that the students of A2, whose Cambridge exams were being postponed due to Covid-19, do not lose a session, a virtual consultative meeting was held on Friday to address the reservations expressed by students and parents in the wake of the government’s decision to put off the examinations till June 15.

In this backdrop, HEC and universities have decided to provide provisional admissions to A2 students in the fall semester 2021 as and when it begins in order to avoid wastage of their time.

Addressing the meeting, HEC Executive Director Dr Shaista Sohail said: “We want to assure the parents and students that HEC and the universities are committed to ensuring student-centric approach without compromising the interest of universities and teaching and learning quality”.

The government, after a special meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), decided that no examination would take place in the country until June 15 amid a surge in coronavirus cases and casualties.

Despite this announcement, Cambridge exams continued to take papers of Pakistan students of A levels (A2) of those students who do not want to sit in the next exams to be held in October-November. A press release available on British Council’s website regarding exams stated: “Due to increasing concerns across the country regarding the continuing spread of Covid-19, the Government of Pakistan has made the decision to cancel Cambridge International’s May-June 2021 O Level, IGCSE and AS Level exams. However, it has confirmed that Cambridge International A Levels exams can continue to go ahead, to ensure students can progress with their education beyond school. The Government has asked us to reduce the number of students sitting Cambridge International A Levels exams in any one venue, at the same time, from Monday, May 3 onward.

“Cambridge International and the British Council fully support the government’s decision. We are liaising with the Ministry of Education and working as quickly as we can to put the new arrangements for Cambridge International A Levels exams into place from Monday, May 3. We will update schools and students with the new venue details for next week’s exams as soon as we can. In the meantime, all students due to sit their Cambridge International A Levels exams this week should continue to go to the currently published exam venues.”

It said: “We will also be in touch with schools and students who were due to take their Cambridge O Level, IGCSE and AS Levels in this exam series with arrangements for re-entering students in the October/November 2021 exam series.

Published in Dawn, May 1st, 2021

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