Bangladesh is planning SSC exams in mid-August. Is the flood-ravaged northeast ready for this?

Floodwaters broke through fences and toppled tin roofs, inundating his home on June 18. They survived 12 days by piling things on the bed, but the household materials were mostly washed away.

“My books were taken away. All my grades are ruined. I tried so hard to keep them safe but failed. My future depends on them,” said Tarekul, an SSC candidate from Bishwambharpur Government Model High School.

Last month, record rainfall runoff through the mountains of Meghalaya and Assam in India rushed downstream and swept through the northeastern districts of Bangladesh.

Millions of people were left stranded as monsoon floods left a trail of devastation in its wake. The floodwaters destroyed the region’s communication and electricity networks.

The floods also destroyed the books and notes of Tarekul’s younger sister, a ninth grader.

The family depends on agriculture and lives a lot because of the floods. Concentrating on studies amid such difficulties has been difficult for Tarekul.

“The teachers said they would bring me the books. Then I can take the exams. But I wrote everything down in my papers. So maybe I’m not doing too well. But I will do my best,” said Tarekul, a humanities student.

According to the government, authorities suspended classes in more than 5,000 educational institutions in 18 districts due to the flooding, and also used schools and colleges to shelter those affected by the floods.

This has derailed the study of as many as 575,000 students at the secondary level alone. The flooding hit SSC candidates the hardest, who were due to take the exams on June 19 after a four-month delay due to the pandemic.

Floods that wreaked havoc in the northeastern regions forced the government to postpone exams two days before the tests. Today, uncertainty weighs on 2.02 million students.

On Sunday, Education Minister Dipu Moni will speak at a press conference, where the exam schedule is expected to be scheduled for mid-August, officials said.

SSC IN AUGUST POSSIBLE?

Teachers and education officials in flood-affected areas said that although the floodwaters had receded, the Eid holidays and summer holidays hampered their work in estimating the damage .

The readiness of test centers and the number of books students need can be assessed once institutions reopen.

But they are convinced that everything will be back to normal in a month of preparation.

Sazzadur Rahman Saju, the principal of Bishwambharpur Government Model High School, said most of the 268 applicants at his school had lost their books.

“My school is an exam centre. Floodwaters damaged benches and sewers. We will tell the government what we need based on that,” he said.

“We will also know how many books we need when school reopens on July 20. Students will be able to get their studies back if they get the books. All in all, it will take about a month to set up the center and prepare the students. »

Manoranjan Das, the principal of Sharlal High School in Shalla in Sunamganj, spoke about the damage to floors, sheet metal walls and benches. He wasn’t sure when the students would be able to return to class.

He mentioned that all 39 applicants from his school had been in no condition to study in the past month. “We found out that they somehow managed to survive. How were they supposed to study? They took refuge wherever they could.

“We need to bring them back to school and distribute books to those who have lost them through a list so that they do as well as possible in exams.”

“It will be better if the exams take place at the end of August. Beyond that, it will create problems with other tests.

So thinks Shafiqul Islam, the headmaster of Badaghat Public High School in Tahirpur.

“The longer the tests are delayed, the more it will affect students’ education. They will be distracted. Those who don’t have books can do well if they have 15-20 days to study with the books.

Shafiqul mentioned that cleaning is already underway at his school to prepare for the July 20 reopening.

The principal of Miadhan Mia Girls’ High School in Habiganj’s Ajmiriganj, Tapan Kumar Talukder, said the school was a shelter for those affected by the floods until July 12. The classrooms were being cleaned for the opening of the school.

Up to 102 students from the school will take the SSC examinations this year while the center will accommodate 654 candidates.

“Students have already suffered huge losses. Exams held in mid-August [will do]. We can fix the centers.

Abdul Gaffar, Netrokona’s education officer, said schools in the district were no longer being used as shelters.

“It will be possible to prepare if the exams take place in August. Because the water has receded. We have 15 to 20 days ahead of us.

Gaffar said there were no reports of students losing books to the deluge in his district. “So I didn’t send a list. But I will take action if that is the case.

Rabeya, carrying an oar, is accompanied by her sister Taslima and her cousin Marjan on the way to Shiktiar Khola High School from their village of Modhupur, which is surrounded by haors. During monsoon, it takes them 5-7 minutes by boat from home to reach the Bishwambarpur-Tahirpur highway. Then they walk for half an hour to reach their school. Photo: Mahmoud Zaman Ovi

Sunamganj District Education Officer Jahangir Alam sent a list of 10,000 books to the candidates. “Some have lost pounds. These will arrive in a day or two”

Obaidul Haque, assistant distribution controller at the National Curriculum and Textbook Board or NCTB, said: “There are books at the NCTB warehouse. There are some other books in Chattogram, Brahmanbaria and Cumilla. These will be sent to students.

NCTB member Prof. AKM Reazul Hasan said the books were to be delivered by Monday.

Arun Chandra Paul, the exam controller for the Secondary and Higher Education Council of Sylhet, said students will receive the books on July 20.

EXAMS SCHEDULED MID-AUGUST

Education official Jahangir said some institutions in Sunamganj were still being used as relief camps.

“The exams will take place in mid-August and we are preparing accordingly. Hopefully everything will be in order by then.

Arun said at least 15-20 days are needed for preparation after the exam schedule is announced. “From what I know, testing is very unlikely to start before August 15.”

He could not specify how many institutions were still housing those affected by the floods.

[Writing in English by Syed Mahmud Onindo]

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