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April 16, 2021

SHC seeks policy decision of NCOC on in-person A and O levels exams

Karachi

April 16, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday directed a federal law officer to apprise the court with regard to the policy decision of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) with regard to holding of in-person exams of A and O levels students.

The direction came on a petition of Cambridge advance level students against the decision of holding physical exams of A level students in the country. Petitioners Sehar Fatima and others had submitted in their plea that the federal government had decided that A and AS levels exams would begin on April 26 and O levels exams would be conducted on May 10 as per the schedule.

They submitted that the decision of the federal education ministry had sent a shockwave and created concerns among thousands of students enrolled in O, A and AS levels programmes as on the one hand, the government deemed it risky and dangerous for students from grades 1 to 12 across the country to attend physical classes during the current third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic but on the other hand, the government was not concerned about thousands of Cambridge students.

The petitioners said that despite recognising the imminent danger posed to students across the country due to the third wave of the pandemic, the students of O, A and AS levels were being forced to risk their safety and attempt Cambridge exams during the same time period for which all other academia had been adjourned.

They added that the federal government had failed to furnish reasons as to why unlike the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and other countries, they opted to hold physical exams as opposed to evaluating students through school assessed grades.

They requested the high court to declare the government decision of conducting physical exams of O, A and AS levels students during the pandemic as unlawful and restrain the respondents from conducting physical exams of the said levels.

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

A counsel for the Cambridge assessment international education filed a statement submitting that holding of in-person exams was the provincial governments’ prerogative. A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Ali Mazhar directed the federal law officer to file comments on behalf of the federal ministry of education and the NCOC and also inform the court about the policy decision of the NCOC with regard to holding of in-person exams of A and O levels students.