Minister of Education Shafqat Mehmood on Tuesday announced that in view of a worsening third coronavirus wave all exams have been put off till June 15.
Addressing a media briefing alongside the prime minister’s aide on health Dr Faisal Sultan following a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), he said: “We had decided during the last NCOC meeting on April 18 that exams will proceed as scheduled. However, after that, to date, the infection rate increased by a lot.”
He said the country seems to be headed towards a complete lockdown in areas witnessing particularly high positivity ratios.
“Hence, one of the decisions we took today through consensus, was that all exams from today till June 15 will be cancelled,” said the minister.
Mehmood said that all board exams for grades 9, 10, 11, 12 that were to begin late May, will now be postponed.
“We will continue to monitor the situation. In the third week of May we will reassess if a further deferment is in order or if we can hold them at that time.
“So if exams take place after June 15, they may continue in July and even August,” the minister explained.
The education minister said that students of O Level will now have to appear for exams in the October/November session and the same will apply to AS and A Level students.
He said that certain A Level students who are in the second year of A Level (A2) — who he said amount to about 20,000 — will suffer if the exams are delayed as their progress will be delayed by a year, and so for their facilitation, exams will be held in the current session as well.
Students will not be charged extra for appearing in the October/November session, the minister clarified.
Mehmood said that for the ease of students seeking admission in universities, the application deadlines will be extended to January so that students have no problems in applying to universities after appearing for exams late.
The minister said that from now on, no exam venue will allow a strength of more than 50 students.
Law enforcement agencies will be deployed to venue so there are no crowds outside venues.
“Parents should rest easy that now, when the coronavirus situation is taking a turn for the worse, the students will not be forced to take exams.
“So this decision has been made in a collective spirit and under what we view to be better for the future of children,” Mehmood said.
He said a formal review will be carried out on May 15 to reassess the decisions made.