On Thursday, the government issued a No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the British Council for conducting “mini-exams” for O-level students from July 26 to August 6.
The news about NOC was announced by Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood in a tweet.
“We have today issued an NOC to the British Council authorizing it to conduct special O-level examinations from July 26 to August 6,” the minister said with the documents.
Examinations “will allow O-level students to start A-level or FA / FSC from September this year and ensure that their year is not wasted,” Mahmood said.
“This kind of test in July is unprecedented and I am glad that Cambridge is arranging it,” the federal minister wrote.
The document shared by the minister states that the NOC was issued after the British Council sent a letter with the request.
“The British Council is fully authorized to be subject to all approved / notified COVID-19 SOPs for a series of mini-examinations from 26 July 2021 to 6 August 2021,” the NOC read.
Minutes after the announcement, the minister issued a separate tweet saying that the corona virus epidemic had “created enormous difficulties in all walks of life, especially in education.”
Mahmood assured everyone that he was making difficult decisions to ensure that students’ education was not affected by the epidemic.
“Every decision has its ups and downs, but the interest and well-being of the students is always important to us,” he said.
O-level tests were scheduled for this month, but were delayed due to an increase in corona virus cases across the country.
Last month, Shafqat Mahmood had said that O-level examinations would be held in October and November and the same would be true of A and AS level examinations.
“Students who want to get admission in Pakistani universities will be able to do so by January as the government will take the universities on board in this regard,” the minister said.
He said, however, that A2 students would have to take the exam now, as the delay would ruin the year.
“In this regard, the government has directed that no examination hall will have more than 50 students [to maintain adequate social distancing]”
“Yesterday, we noticed that some Cambridge test centers had violated the standard operating procedure (SOPs) for corona virus,” he said. “Therefore, from Monday, the government will ensure the deployment of law enforcement agencies outside the examination centers to ensure compliance with SOPs.”
At the end of the press conference, Shafqat Mahmood emphasized this [irrespective of everything] Exams are very important for students because they work hard all year round.
“All the education ministers unanimously decided that no promotion can be approved without examinations, but for the convenience of the student. [in times of crisis] Exams will be held at the October / November meeting or after June / July [in case of local students]Mahmoud said.
The Cambridge exams began on April 26 amid intense calls from students and their parents to cancel the exams in view of the deteriorating COVID-19 situation in the country.
Minister Shafqat Mehmood had said that permission to conduct examinations is conditional on strict SOP compliance.
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