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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood Tuesday announced that as per the suggestion of the National Command and Operation Centre, all board exams have been postponed till June 15th due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.

The minister, while addressing a press conference related to Cambridge exam centres as well as the overall situation of infections in the country after attending a special session of the NCOC, said the country seems to be headed towards a complete lockdown in areas witnessing particularly high positivity ratios.

Mehmood said since April 18 when the last meeting of the Education Ministry was held, the number of Covid-19 cases has rapidly jumped up therefore, the government has decided to postpone all exams until June 15.

He maintained "exams of 9, 10, 11 and 12, which were supposed to begin from the end of May, have been delayed further." "No board exams will be held till June 15."

Mehmood added that another meeting of the NCOC will decide in the third week of May whether these exams will be postponed further or not.

"So if exams take place after June 15, they may continue in July and even August," the minister explained.

Speaking about Cambridge exams, Mehmood said O level exams will now be held in October and November cycle, and the same will be the case for A and AS level exams.

"Those students who wish to seek admission in Pakistani universities will be able to do so until January as the government will take the universities on board in this regard," the minister said.

He, however, said students of A2 must appear in the examination right now, as deferment would lead to a wasted year.

"In this regard, the government has issued directives that no exam venue will have more than 50 people [to maintain adequate social distancing]."

Shafqat Mehmood stressed that irrespective of everything exams are very important for students because they work hard throughout the year.

He said, "All the education ministers unanimously decided that no promotions can be granted without exams, but for the sake of facilitating student the exams will be held in the October/November session or after June/July in case of local students".

The Cambridge examinations started on Monday amid strong calls from the students and their parents to cancel exams considering the worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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