Cambridge students in Pakistan want O/A-Level exams to be canceled this year by the international board for the upcoming May/June 2021 exams as Pakistan is entering into – what experts call it – the third wave of the pandemic. Many have cited this wave to prove to be worse than before. The cases have already escalated into many vicinities across the country, which is why many areas in major cities are under strict or smart lockdown.
Despite the students’ concerns, Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood said that Intermediate, Matric, and Cambridge exams would be held as per schedule. Students have started a petition addressed to Mahmood. Following are their demands stated in the form of pointers:
- Online classes were not up to the standard of education required.
- Schools struggled with delivering curriculum due to on/off schedules.
- Students and their parents who contracted the virus found it difficult to cope up with their studies.
- Hostel students who were forced back home didn’t have a proper environment to study.
- Most countries have promoted students based on predicted grades.
- Local boards reduced the exam syllabus or delayed assessments, but CIE students didn’t have these options.
Another concern that was raised was that in over 10 countries across the world, the Cambridge exams had been canceled, so why can’t the authorities take decisions keeping in mind our circumstances at the moment. Once students get bad grades, it will put their chances of getting into desired universities in jeopardy.
In Pakistan, the Cambridge O and A-Level exams will begin on April 26 and end on June 11 this year.
#cancelcies21 is trending on Twitter
Students across Pakistan have been tweeting under the hashtag #cancelcies21. Let’s have a look at what they have to say:
A RECORD HIGH OF 3500 CASES! This figure is the highest record for REPORTED no. of coronavirus cases in Pakistan. I’m not even starting about the UNREPORTED cases yet. @Shafqat_Mahmood please try to act rationally and AT LEAST acknowledge our pleas! #cancelcies21
— Yadish (@yadishabid3) March 18, 2021
I was soo depressed a week ago, almost had a panic attack. we have solely relied on online classes this past year and if I have learnt anything, it's from youtube, not school or online classes. Schools, @CambridgeInt and @BritishCouncil only care about money. #cancelcies21
— Arsalan (@Arsalan38510898) March 17, 2021
This is gross how can you compare local boards with CAIE, local boards are already on advantage with extended dates, reduced syllabus etc but we have only one way that is teacher assessed grades! You can't compare two boards which are completely different#cancelcies21 https://t.co/X0WFtaKe9T
— Haider (@janehaider25) March 17, 2021
HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO BEG YOU JUST TO SEE YOUR SILENCE @Shafqat_Mahmood ? OUR REASONS ARE VALID AND YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY NEGATE ANYONE OF THESE. PLEASE TAKE CARE OF THE FUTURE GENERATIONS OF PAKISTAN. #cancelcies21
@GovtofPakistan @hecpkofficial @ShahzadYunasPTI pic.twitter.com/ok39nFp19D
— Younas Hadi (@Younas_hadi) March 17, 2021
How difficult is it to understand that we are going to have our exams from literally April! Where this year wasnt normal, education was effected too. We arent prepare for the exams. PLS MAKE A DECISION BEFORE ITS TOO LATE! Its about our careers! @Shafqat_Mahmood #cancelcies21
— Ayesha Rehan (@AyeshaR68033796) March 17, 2021
O/A level students at this point are fed up over the fiasco of shifting from online to F2F thrice this year. Teachers agree ke online ka koi faida nahin and they would also agree that preparation for these exams is shitty af. We need relief. #cancelcies21 @Shafqat_Mahmood
— Yusuf Ejaz (@YusufEjaz5) March 17, 2021
In these times of chaos and uncertainty, the government should be the one taking charge of the matter at hand, and they should be the one giving us reassurance, but yet we (the students) find ourselves fighting for the cause alone. #cancelcies21 @DrMuradPTI @Shafqat_Mahmood
— ibrahim bilal (@ibrahim79110868) March 17, 2021
We spoke to Head Mistress Cambridge Section of St. Joseph Convent School, Naseema Kapadia, on the matter.
1- Some students have claimed that the syllabus has not been covered as yet. Are schools still having trouble with online classes?
I feel CAIE examinations should not be postponed. Online classes have been regular and onsite when managed for tests, worked well.
2 – How was the last academic year like for schools and students in terms of challenges?
Challenges are there, and the environment does not help youngsters, but it will worsen if a second-year goes by without examinations.
3 – Are there any other options available to assist students who can’t appear for exams?
CAIE has given options for dropping components that students feel they are not by sure of and accept a predicted grade by Cambridge. Unfortunately, students are banking on no exams, and that must be stopped.
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