That all the candidates of the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination of 2020 would pass was known but how the grade would be decided was the crucial issue. Since the batch of students had completed their academic year and the examination was slated to be held only a month later, it is quite rational that they were not made to suffer the loss of an academic year. This is notwithstanding the fact that they could not appear at the scheduled examinations on account of a prolonged closure of educational institutions enforced to combat coronavirus. The basis of awarding grade has been the results of the Junior School Certificate and the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) or their equivalent examinations. Quite reasonably 75 per cent marks of the SSC and 25 per cent marks of the JSC examinations have been taken into account to award grades. While 17,043 students who did not receive GPA-5 in JSC and SSC examinations obtained GPA-5, according to the assessment, 396 did not get the highest grade. Why? Because, those students obtained GPA-5 in the earlier public examinations on the strength of the fourth subject. Then the 17,043 students got GPA-5 by virtue of subject mapping.
Sure enough, those 396 students will be disappointed. The good thing is that the authorities have informed that each of those students would be contacted individually to let them know why they missed the top grade. It shows the authorities are alive to the psychological stress students are undergoing in general and particularly those who failed to make it to the coveted grade. In this context, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has demonstrated her extraordinary sensitivity by requesting people to refrain from doing unnecessary criticism of the auto promotion. Adolescent learners are already under tremendous mental pressure because of their long confinement and cessation to all academic activities. The HSC candidates did not even have their on-line classes. This batch will vie for coveted seats in universities medical colleges and engineering universities. Confronting admission tests at this level without facing the last public exam and spending a year idly is no mean job.
So the focus ought to be how to make up for their lost time and do justice to their grades. Those who took preparation well for the HSC exam, 2020, stand hardly any chance of going through an unlearning process. One overriding need is to encourage them, guide them to overcome the inertia set during the long lay-off. Here comes the role of professional counsellors with the background of clinical psychology. This is an age of robot and artificial intelligence (AI), to which highly susceptible minds often fail to adapt. Schools and colleges must need counsellors to help students cope with gruelling academic and peer pressures.
Finally, it must be admitted that students of auto promotion cannot be blamed for suffering from an inferiority complex. So at no point this should be referred to in order not to undermine them when they pursue higher studies. Teachers, guardians and of course counsellors -- who need to have regular sessions with students -- must inspire each individual to explore his or her true potential and help nurture self-belief. Academic exercise is not completion of curricula but addition and creation of knowledge. If students with help from academics develop an insight into knowledge, the mission is accomplished.