Thursday, June 18, 2015

Exam on Eid day!

After reading the title, I'm sure you would have thought I'm a whiny brat narrating some anecdote from my time abroad which I spent on my father's money. Let me disabuse you of that notion. This story took place in Lahore, Pakistan in October 2006.

My school decided that it was best to appear for our Islamiat and Pak Studies O Level exams in October of 2006 rather than in June the next year. This led to a hasty stretch to complete syllabus to both courses, neither of which was complete.

But the bigger problem was that the exams fell during the Holy Month of Ramazan. With our backs against the wall, we somehow survived the Pak Studies exam. What awaited us was unheard of. The Eid moon was not sighted, which meant there would be 30 'rozas', aligning our Islamiat Paper 1 with the Eid day! To top it off, the paper was to start at 8 am.

I remember missing Eid prayers, something I hadn't done before or since that fateful day in October. My cousins were celebrating while I went for my exam. As if this wasn't enough, the second part of the exam was the next day.

When I remember that Eid, I do not feel sad because of missing out on the fun but because there was no resistance to that schedule before or after the exam session. What hurt me most was my friends' obsequence. I know you can't change the schedule but at least shoot an email to the British Council condeming their lack of sensitivity to our religious festivities. Just imagine these exams being held on Christmas eve. Impossible!

Why I write this now is for the future candidates who wish to take these exams in the years to come. As Ramazan moves into May, the chances of Eid falling on an exam day will rise. Schools and candidates should request the British council to at least schedule no exams on the 2-3 days that Eid could fall on. It isn't too much to ask given the amount of revenues the British Council derives from O and A level exams conducted in Pakistan.

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