This pandemic has been kind to no one.

Starting from taking lives of hundred thousands to crippling economies, the virus has wreaked havoc upon many lives. CAIE students are standing at crossroads during this situation as well. Cambridge has been informing schools and parents on how they will go about this situation in various short updates which has brought a lot of confusion. After announcing how they will be grading their students in the session of May/June 2020, they have emailed schools with yet another update putting the private candidates’ grades in jeopardy.

They stated that they will not be catering to any private students registered directly with the British Council in the session of May/June 2020. This is because as British Council is not an educational institute, they do not have any previous evidence of the registered candidates which will help in grading them. Which clearly means that any of those students will not be graded in this session. They will either have to opt for appearing in the Oct/Nov 2020 session or go about some other way.

Here comes another update

Another update from the organisation stated that those private candidates can now get themselves registered with any school working with the British Council for the ongoing session. In this way, they were set to be treated like all other students appearing from those schools.

“Candidates can convert their private entries into regular school entries and hence enrol themselves for Evidence-Based Grading. This Policy is called Change of Centre/ Transfer Candidates. The Current Centre for Private Candidates is British Council and their New Centre will be ANY SCHOOL willing to enrol them,” stated the update.

This update reached the schools sometime around 9th May while the deadline they mentioned for this process was 10th May. So, basically, thousands of students were forced to go around finding different schools and ask to get themselves enrolled with only a day or two in hand. Imagine the chaos it would have caused for schools and the students both.

And another one

Yet another update reached the schools and teachers on the morning on 10th May (the deadline). It informed them that the British Council will not be accepting entries of any student whose link cannot be proved with the schools they registered themselves with. And it also stated that any such case found will be considered malpractice and appropriate actions will be taken.

This happened because around 70 schools who welcomed all those students with open arms were reported to charging an amount of PKR 70,000-15,000 from an individual student. This amount was considered as their fee of registering the students who were previously registered with the British Council. In times like this, such practices are nothing but pure exploitation.

“The British Council has become aware of schools openly targeting private candidates and inviting them to transfer their entry for the Cambridge June 2020 series in return for money. We know our concerns are supported by Cambridge, and our many British Council partner schools, and believe this practice undermines the June 2020 series, and the overall integrity of international examinations in Pakistan.”

The schools dropped any such students like hot potatoes. While this was somewhat a considerably reasonable acton on the British Council’s parts, thousands of students are left with no option but to sit this session out. Thousands of students will not be receiving any grade this session and hundreds among them won’t be able to apply for universities this summer. The consequences of this decision will be faced by none other than the students themselves.

The British Council, in my opinion, could have come up with a better solution for this situation which did not have to include putting so many futures on the line.


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