Primary-Higher Secondary Education: Major reforms on the horizon

The government plans to overhaul the education system. This will include eliminating public exams prior to class 10, and ensuring that students do not have to take any exams up until class 3.

The new curriculum will place less emphasis on memorizing and more emphasis on activity- and experiment-based learning.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina approved the outline for the new curriculum. It will be implemented in phases starting January 2023 and fully implemented by 2025.

From class 11, the government will also introduce streams, including business studies, science and humanities. Students had to choose from the nine streams within the existing curriculum.

Dipu Moni, Education Minister, stated that the government is committed to reforming the existing education system after receiving approval from the PM.

We don't want students to be under the stress of education. She stated that she wanted to provide students education with fanfare and replace the memorisation-based system by experiment-activity-based education.


She stated that students would be assessed based on continuous assessment up to class 3 at schools.

These students must sit for the final and half-yearly exams each year.

Dipu Moni stated that 60 percent of evaluations in Bangla, mathematics, social sciences, and science for students in classes 4-8 will be conducted through continuous assessment and the remainder through an "overall evaluation."

Students in other subjects will be assessed based on continuous assessment.

When Prof Md Moshiuzzaman, National Curriculum and Textbook Board Member (Curriculum), was contacted, he explained that "overall assessment" refers to exams and continuous evaluation means evaluation of regular schoolwork.

Continuous assessment will make up half of the evaluations of English, Bangla, English and mathematics as well as science and social science for students in classes 9 and 10. The rest will be done by exams.

Dipu Moni stated that students will have to take public exams following class 10, which is based only on the curriculum for that grade.

An NCTB official stated that the SSC exams would be held in Bangla, English and mathematics.

Officials at the NCTB stated that this would mean there won't be any more Primary Education Completion Exams after class 5, and no Junior School Certificate exams after class 8.

In 2009, the PECE was launched. The JSC exams followed a year later. Many educators criticized the exams as unnecessary and said that they stress out students.

"There was no mention of JSC and PECE exams in the current curriculum. "But the government decided that the exams would be held," an NCTB member stated.

The last revision of the curriculum was in 2012.

Moshiuzzaman said that no public exams were proposed for class 10 in the new curriculum outline. He spoke to The Daily Star yesterday afternoon, following a press conference at Secretariat.

Grades 9-10 will be taught 10 subjects: Bangla, English and mathematics.


Dipu Moni stated that students will need to take public exams after the classes XII and XII, based on their respective curriculums. HSC exams will be conducted in two phases. The final result will be determined by combining the results from both phases.

Officials from the NCTB stated that 30 percent of the compulsory subjects (Bangla, English and mathematics) will be evaluated by continuous assessment and that 70 percent will be assessed through public exams.

Students will be assessed based on both continuous assessment and exams for optional subjects. Officials at NCTB said that details have yet to be finalised.

Students in classes 9 and 10, after having studied a two-year syllabus, sit for the SSC exams on 10 papers. After having studied a syllabus for two years in class 11, and 12, they sit for the HSC exams.


Yesterday Dipu Moni also stated that the government will introduce streams -- business, science and humanities -- starting in class 11.

She stated that secondary schools have required students to choose between science, business, and humanities since the time of Ayub Khan.

Officials stated that most countries do not have business, science and humanities at school level. They stated that all school-level students should have the same knowledge.

The compulsory English, Bangla and ICT courses will be taught to students in classes 11 and 12. They will also be able choose from three additional subjects in any of the three fields of business, science, and humanities. They will choose another subject from the vocational courses.


According to the education minister, the government will start implementing the new curriculum in phases starting in 2023. The new curriculum will be piloted in 100 primary schools, and 100 secondary schools by January 2022.

New books will be available to students in classes 1, 2, 6, and 7, based on the revised curriculum. They will arrive in January 2023. Books will be available for students in classes 3, 4, 8, and 9 by 2024.

New books will be available for students in grades 5-10 starting January 2025.

In 2018, the NCTB began the process of revising its current curriculum. The NCTB was to start phase-wise implementation in January 2021.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused two years delay in the introduction of a new curriculum.

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