Public Examination System

Public Examination System the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) Examination, the first in the hierarchy of public examinations, is held after 10 years of schooling. Next is the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination held at the end of grade 12. The bachelor degree examinations (BA, BSc, BSS, BCom) are held at the end of 14/15 years and the masters degree examinations (MA, MSc, MSS, MCom) at the end of 16/17 years. The competitive examinations for Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) by which candidates are selected for positions of class I government officers are also public examinations.

Bangladesh inherited the public examination system from the British. Following the London University rule, the British government introduced a system of entrance examination after completion of the high school education. At the beginning, the examination used to be conducted by the London University. After the establishment of the universities at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay in 1857, the responsibility of conducting the entrance examination (renamed later as matriculation examination) was entrusted to these universities. The matriculation certificate used to serve two purposes: obtaining a job and getting admission to colleges for higher studies.

In 1917, the government constituted a commission to prepare a constructive education policy. The commission, named Calcutta University Commission, popularly known as sadler commission, published its recommendations in 1919. One of the important recommendations of the commission was to create a Board of Secondary and Intermediate Education for conducting the matriculation and intermediate examinations.

On the basis of this recommendation, the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka was established in 1921. All the colleges of Dhaka city were converted into intermediate colleges and were put under the jurisdiction of the board. All High English Schools were also put under the board. All the Islamic intermediate and matriculation level examinations of the Islamic Studies stream in the institutions of the Bengal and Assam provinces used to be conducted by the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) through an Advisory Board.

The Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education was abolished after the partition of India and creation of Pakistan. A new East Bengal Secondary Education Board (EBSEB) was created in September 1947 by an ordinance. The secondary education of East Bengal was brought under this Board and the university of dhaka was given the responsibility of supervising intermediate level education and conducting intermediate examinations. In 1955, EBSEB was changed to East Pakistan Secondary Education Board (EPSEB).

On the recommendation of the National Education Commission, the responsibility of intermediate education was again transferred from all the universities to the boards in 1961. Accordingly, the responsibility of controlling and supervising the intermediate education of the entire East Pakistan was entrusted to the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education, Dhaka.

Creation of new boards became a necessity with increase in the number of schools and intermediate colleges, as well as of the students. Accordingly, in 1962, three new Boards of Intermediate and Secondary Education were established in the three administrative divisions of the country outside Dhaka - Rajshashi, Chittagong and Khulna. These Boards are located at Rajshahi, Comilla and Jessore. In 1994, another board was established in Chittagong. Three more boards were created - one each at Sylhet, Dinajpur and Barisal, the two newly created administrative divisions of Bangladesh.

In the education system of Bangladesh, parallel to the general education stream, there is a stream of religious education known as madrasah education. In this system, the names of the public examinations equivalent to SSC and HSC are Dakhil and Alim examinations. Similarly, the degree level examination is known as Fazil and masters level examination as Kamil. All these public examinations under the madrasah system are controlled, supervised, managed and conducted by a separate board, known as Madrasah Education Board (MEB), which was created in 1978.

In the case of technical and vocational education, a number of degree, diploma and certificate level courses are offered. The degree level public examinations in the technical and vocation education system are the BSc (Textile Technology), BSc (Leather Technology), and BSc (Tech) Education. These examinations are conducted by Dhaka University. The diploma and certificate level examinations are conducted by the Bangladesh Technical Education Board (BTEB) created in 1967. All the boards are autonomous under the control and supervision of the Ministry of Education.

The degree and higher level examinations are conducted by the universities. Before 1991, all the degree colleges of the country were under the academic control of the universities of Dhaka, Chittagong or Rajshahi. These universities used to conduct the degree and higher level public examinations for candidates belonging to colleges under their respective jurisdictions. In the academic year 1991-92, the national university was established and all the degree colleges of the country, other than the technical colleges, were placed under its academic control. The National University has been entrusted with the responsibility of controlling, managing and conducting all degree and higher level examinations for candidates belonging to the degree and postgraduate colleges. All the universities, including the National University, are autonomous bodies.

The results of the public examinations are published on the basis of marks scored by the candidates. A letter-grading system of publishing results of SSC and HSC examinations and at higher levels has already been introduced. The grading system for the results of SSC and HSC examinations was introduced from 2001 and 2003 respectively. Generally, a candidate securing eighty per cent marks and over on the average is considered successful as GPA 5 (Grade A+) in the examination. A candidate scoring marks between 70-79% is award GPA 4, 60-69% GPA 3.5, 50-59% GPA 3, 40-49% GPA 2 and 33 to 39% of marks is awarded GPA 1. Scholarships and stipends are awarded on the basis of marks obtained in the examination. The public examination system is under review by the government and the creative system in the SSC examination has already been introduced to evaluate the real talent of the candidates. [Shamsud Doha]