Finally, the British Council realized the lives of Pakistani students are also precious and has agreed to sacrifice millions of rupees by cancelling O/A Level exams. The British Council in a letter shared with schools said that Cambridge International and the British Council fully support the government decision to cancel the exams due to continuing spread of COVID-19. The students will now likely sit these exams in the October/November 2021 cycle.
Interestingly, although the British Council agrees to reduce the number of students sitting the A2 exams in any one venue from Monday 3rd May onwards, the students sitting these exams before this date have been advised to follow the existing timetable putting them at high risk of exposure to the virus.
The federal minister for education had come under severe criticism for failing to convince the British Council to cancel the exams. The British Council’s representatives met with the federal education minister Shafqat Mahmood on April 8 and assured that all COVID SOPS will be strictly followed. Shafqat Mahmood in a tweet admitted that outside the exam centers ‘SOP observance was poor.’ It has also appeared from the letter sent by Cambridge International that they were holding exams where the government has allowed holding exams. The Cambridge and the British Council were not ready to take decisions on their own. “The Cambridge and the British Council are charging for the exams so why would they cancel exams,” an educationist said. “Cancelling any exams results in major loss of money for both the organizations.”
The CAIE Assessments cost Rs 14,000 to Rs 28,000 per paper for the A/O Level exam. A level fee range is between Rs 13,000 to 28,000 per subject. O Level fees range between Rs 14,000 to Rs 16,000 per subject. And IGCSE exam fee is Rs 16,000 to 18,000 per paper. A student, therefore, pays around Rs 80,000 if appearing in all the papers. This year more than 80,000 students were appearing in the May and June exams. “Do the math and you will know why Cambridge was resisting so hard,” added another educationist.