Chief Justice Athar Minallah stated that courts could not intervene in matters of public policy but added that the case could be referred to the National Command Operation Center. The judge observed that the federal government could not issue instructions to Cambridge.
Students stated that taking exams in person is too dangerous for them and that exams should be moved online.
Earlier this month, the government announced that O Level exams would proceed on May 10 and As and A Level tests would begin on April 26.
High Court of Sindh
During Friday’s Sindh High Court hearing, Additional Attorney General Kashif Paracha stated that the petition should be dismissed because cancelling the exams makes no sense. Physical education classes for students in grades 9 to 12 were not even cancelled, he added.
Although numerous cases have been reported in Lahore, the Cambridge lawyer argued that the virus situation is better in Karachi.
Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar inquired about what would happen if the Sindh High Court and the Lahore High Court rendered separate decisions in the case.
According to the Cambridge lawyer, students who do not wish to sit for the exams now may do so in October or November. “We will not charge you for them.”
On Thursday, the Karachi court announced that it would announce its decision after the Lahore High Court rules on the case.
The lawyer for Cambridge International Assessment assured the court that all standard operating procedures will be followed during the exams and that the British Council is satisfied with the SOPs.
On April 10, students in Karachi petitioned the Sindh High Court to cancel O/A Level exams and replace them with School Assessed Grades.
According to the petition, conducting exams endangers thousands of students by exposing them to the risk of contracting coronavirus, which is prohibited under the following sections of the Pakistani Constitution.
- Section 4: Individuals’ right to be treated fairly and by the law, etc.
2. Section 8: Legislation that is in conflict with or in derogation of Fundamental Rights is null and void
3. Section 9: Personal safety
4. Section 25: Citizenship equality and the right to education
The petition stated that Cambridge should consider evaluating students using the School Assessed Grades system. This means that students’ grades should be determined by their performance in online classes and assignments.
Grades Determined by the School
Under this system, schools will collaborate with the international board and use a four-step process to assign grades to each student.
Here is a summary of how that will occur:
Cambridge will request that schools provide an assessment grade based on the level of achievement demonstrated by each student.
To determine this grade, schools must include a portfolio of three significant pieces of work from each student on their syllabus.
Between mid-May and late June, schools will be asked to submit grades to Cambridge International.
The board will request information about the schools’ internal quality assurance procedures when compiling portfolios of student work and submitting assessed grades.
Cambridge International will conduct external quality assurance checks on grades.
The school may submit evidence in mock school exams, assignments, essays, and practical tasks.