Giving their O and A Level examinations is a pivotal moment in every student’s life. This year students are giving their exams under the cover of a pandemic and the worsening situation of the third wave and surging cases.
The internationally recognised examinations are being conducted by the British Council under strict adherence to coronavirus SOPs. The examinations for A-Level have already started while those for O Levels, which have higher number of students appearing, will commence on May 10. All pleas to cancel the exams were dismissed and students had no choice but to appear for them.
Cambridge exams take several months rather years of intense studies and preparation to achieve desired results before students move to higher education. This was upended last year when the pandemic struck the nation, forcing the exams to be annulled and teacher assessment results were given. This year, however, things are much different as in-person examinations are being held.
Many students raised apprehensions over holding the exams due to coronavirus fears and not because they were unprepared. Others were concerned that repetitive school disruptions since the past year and shifting to online classes had affected their studies. Studies were unable to retain knowledge in virtual classes as compared to classroom settings. Many have decided to defer exams to the next session due to the mental stress they have been facing.
The students and their guardians knocked the doors of the courts to stop the examinations but their petitions were dismissed. The government, which has closed all schools and colleges locally, does not hold sway over the British Council and was forced to negotiate. It was eventually decided that exams will be held under any circumstances with strict SOPs. Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said the decision was made in best interests of the students.
Although the concerns of the students are genuine, the effects on their academic careers should also be considered. Delaying exams or cancelling them will affect their professional life as well. The organisers should ensure the exams are conducted safely to ease the student’s burden and allow them to move forward.