The government has granted permission to all educational institutions to conduct exams of all levels by ensuring social distancing and other safety measures, enforced by federal, provincial and local levels, at examination centres.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, making public the decision of the last cabinet meeting, said at a press conference held on Wednesday that the government had also permitted vocational training institutions to conduct training for no more than 25 participants in each class.

Registrar of Tribhuvan University, Peshal Dahal, informed that TU had already conducted engineering and MPhil exams and was preparing to start other stalled examinations from the second week of November.

He said TU was trying to ensure that all students appeared in designated examination centres, but the university would make exception for those who could not appear for exams due to COVID-19.

“We fear that if COVID-19 continues to rise, some students might not be able to appear in the designated examination centres. For such students we will have to make alternative arrangement,” he said.

He added that TU is considering to allow students to appear in the nearest examination centres if they failed to appear in the designated centre due to the pandemic.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Deepak Sharma, said, “If universities think physical appearance of students is viable, they can conduct exams requiring students to appear in exam centres, but if they think that they can conduct online examination, project based examination or open book examination, they can do that.”

He added that in some academic and vocational institutions where participants are few, they can ask students to appear in examination halls by ensuring safety measures, including social distancing rules.

Sharma informed that the process of conducting Grade XII examinations would be decided only after holding discussion with officials of multiple ministries and institutions, as those examinations involve multiple agencies.

Educationist Mana Prasad Wagle, however, said that the government’s decision to allow academic institutions to conduct examinations at a time when cases of COVID-19 were rising sharply was wrong, as it could increase the risk of transmission.

“The government could have allowed institutions to take examinations in April when COVID was spreading at a slower rate,” he said.

“On Wednesday, more than 3,000 cases of the contagion were diagnosed and the number is likely to rise in the coming days,” said Wagle.