ISLAMABAD: O level exams in Pakistan will now be conducted from May 15, but A and AS level exams will go ahead “as timetabled”, Cambridge International Examinations confirmed late Thursday.
“Cambridge International AS and A Levels to go ahead as timetabled, O Levels and IGCSEs to take place from May 15,” read a statement issued by the UK examination board.
Earlier, the exams were scheduled to commence from April 26, 2020. As per the new announcement, now only A and AS level exams will go ahead as scheduled in April.
Close to 50,000 candidates are likely to appear in O Level/IGCSE exams and about 40,000 in AS/A Level exams from across Pakistan.
The UK examination board said that they are “working hard to support efforts by schools and authorities in Pakistan to keep the students safe and help them” continue their education amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The board had said that it was in contact with Pakistani authorities on the issue.
“We are pleased to announce that with the help of the Government of Pakistan, we will be holding all Cambridge International AS & A Levels as timetabled, so that students can progress to the next stage of their education,” said the CIE.
The board said that they have agreed that only Cambridge O Level and IGCSE exams will be held from May 15 onwards.
“We are now looking urgently at how best to make this work. We will not switch to school-assessed grades,” clarified the board.
It added that they will provide more information to schools next week.
Shafqat Mehmood’s meeting with Cambridge
The statement by the CIE came shortly after Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood late on Thursday evening announced that CIE has agreed to reschedule O level exams to after May 15.
The minister said that the decision was taken after a detailed discussion with relevant bodies, adding that related details will be shared by Cambridge later.
“However, ‘A’ and ‘As’ level exams will take place as per the original timetable, following all the SOPs. Wishing everyone success in the exams,” he had said.
Mehmood had indicated the possibility of rescheduling the O and A Level exams slated for the May/June session.
The minister, in a previous tweet in the day, said that students are “constantly calling, sending messages or writing emails”, and he wishes to let them know that he is “in constant contact with Cambridge authorities”.
He said discussions to reschedule “most if not all exams to after May 15” are being held, adding that he “should know more tomorrow”.
Earlier this month, the minister had announced that all Cambridge exams — as well as those for Intermediate and Matriculation students — will be held as per schedule this year.
He said that exams for grades 10, 11 and 12 overseen by local boards will be held this year in May and June.
“Our children are giving [Intermediate and Matriculation] exams under Pakistani boards, hence the same [rule] will also apply for children giving exams for other boards,” he had said, referring to O level and A level students.
However, following a meeting of the health and education ministers at the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) on March 24, in which it was decided that schools in coronavirus hotspot areas will be closed till April 11, exams came under discussion once more.
Mehmood had said, following the meeting, that he will discuss with Cambridge whether exams scheduled in the May/June session can be postponed.