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April 10, 2021

SHC issues notices to NCOC, ministry on A-level students’ plea against in-person exams

Karachi

April 10, 2021

The Sindh High Court issued notices to the federal education ministry, the Cambridge Assessment International Education and the National Command and Operation Centre on a petition of Cambridge advanced level students against the federal government’s decision that the A and O level students would sit their exams in person.

Sehar Fatima and others submitted in the petition that the federal government had decided that A and AS level exams scheduled to begin on April 26 and the O level exams will be conducted on May 10 as per schedule.

They said the decision had sent a shock wave and concern through the thousands of students enrolled in O, A and AS level programmes, as it was beyond any reasonable person’s comprehension that on the one hand the government deemed it risky and dangerous for students from 1 to 12 grades across the country to either attend physical classes or exams in the ongoing third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, but on the other they did not choose it for thousands of Cambridge students.

They said that despite recognising the imminent danger posed to students due to the third wave of the pandemic, the students of O, A and AS levels were being made to risk their safety and attempt the Cambridge exams during the same time period for which all other academic activities had been adjourned in gross contradiction to the self-realisation and resolve of the federal government as it would be detrimental to the lives of the students.

They said the federal government failed to furnish reasons why, unlike the UK, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other countries, they opted to hold physical exams as opposed to evaluating students through school-assessed grades.

They requested the court to declare that the government decision to conduct physical exams of O-A level students during the pandemic as unlawful and to restrain the respondents from conducting these exams.

The court was requested to direct the respondents to furnish reasons why, when classes had been suspended for all students from grades 1 to 12 and all local board examinations had been postponed till the third week of May, they deemed it fit for thousands of O and A level students to attend physical exams from the last week of April.

A division bench, headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar, after the preliminary hearing of the petition, issued notices to the ministry of education, the NCOC and others, and called their comments on April 15.