ISLAMABAD: Confusion persisted over the ongoing Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exams being conducted by the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE).

Following the decision of the National Security Council (NSC) to close educational institutions and madrassahs across the country till April 5 as a precautionary measure against coronavirus, Islamabad-based education bodies also decided to keep their institutions closed.

However, speaking to Dawn, education minister Shafqat Mahmood said the ongoing examinations would continue. He said on March 27 the situation would be reviewed to decide the future course of action.

Talking about the examination being conducted by other boards of the country, the minister said he had given a policy guideline to Inter-Board Committee Chairmen (IBCC), an umbrella organization of all examination boards in the country, that at least ongoing exams should be held as per schedule.

However, addressing a late-night press conference, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr. Zafar Mirza said the closure of education activities also included all exams.

Education minister says school closure will not affect ongoing exams while PM’s adviser says suspension of educational activities also include exams

Asked about a statement of the FBISE regarding the continuation of the SSC exams, Dr Mirza said he would take up the matter with the board chairman to cancel the exams.

“I am sorry for the students who had made preparations for the exams.”

Earlier, when contacted, FBISE Chairman Dr. Ikram Ali Malik, who is also chairman of the IBCC, said ongoing 9th and 10th class examinations being conducted by FBISE would continue as per schedule in Islamabad, Punjab, KP, and Kashmir.

He said FBISE’s examinations in Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Sindh had already been canceled a few days ago.

Asked about the examinations of other boards, he said consultations were underway and the boards in provinces would follow the guideline of respective provincial governments.

Meanwhile, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Rawalpindi spokesman Arsalan Cheema told Dawn that the SSC exams in Rawalpindi and other parts of the province had been completed but that of 9th class were ongoing.

He said the decision to cancel the remaining papers of 9th class would be made in Lahore where all chairmen of all the nine boards would meet.

The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) issued notifications for the closure of educational institutions.

Peira said private schools will remain closed from March 14 to April 5 while FDE said public schools and colleges would reopen on April 13.

Meanwhile, another notification issued by the education ministry said all feeder and community schools under the National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) will also remain closed till April 5.

All public and private educational institutions along with vocational institutions under the federal government educational institutions cantonments and garrison directorate in Rawalpindi will also remain closed.

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