Staff Correspondent: As Cyclone Mocha nears, students sitting for their Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations in coastal districts are waiting to hear if their tests will be delayed.
“We’re yet to receive any direction from the Inter-Education Board. We’re waiting for the centre’s decision,” said Cox’s Bazar District Education Officer Md Nasir Uddin.
He said the district administration was aware of the issue and already had a meeting with the education authorities. “We were told to be on the alert. If it is confirmed that the cyclone will definitely hit the coast and the exam can’t be held, we’ll ask the exam centres to evacuate students.
Right now we’re staying alert so no communication gap takes place,” he said.
The physics test for science stream students, the history of Bangladesh and world civilisation test for humanities stream students, and the finance and banking test for commerce stream students are supposed to be held on Sunday.
“We’ll check how serious the situation is and make a decision accordingly,” said Tapan Kumar Sarkar, chairman of the Dhaka Education Board and president of the Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee.
“Usually, we prepare beforehand to address such situations; whether to continue the exam or halt it,” he said.
Bangladesh’s Secondary School Certificate and equivalent exams kicked off across the country on Apr 30. Cyclone Mocha is expected to make landfall on Sunday.
A deep depression that formed over the Bay of Bengal and adjoining area has intensified into a cyclonic storm, known as Mocha. Bangladesh Meteorological Department has yet to provide the details of the course of the cyclone.
The India Meteorological Department, however, said the cyclone is likely to cross the coast between Cox’s Bazar and Kyaukphyu Island in Myanmar.
According to the Indian Met Office forecast, Cyclone Mocha is likely to leave an impact from Sunday morning if it crosses the coast by the afternoon. Therefore, uncertainty lies for the students who will take the public exam from 10 am to 1 pm on Sunday.
The maritime ports of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Mongla and Payra have been advised to lower distant cautionary signal No. 1 and hoist distant warning signal No. 2 instead.
The cyclone was centred about 1,295 km south-southwest of Chattogram Port, 1,220 south-southwest of Cox’s Bazar Port, 1,265 south-southwest of Mongla Port, and 1,225 south-southwest of Payra Port at 6 am yesterday.
It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction, Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in a bulletin. Then, it is likely to recurve gradually and move north-northeastwards.
The maximum sustained wind speed within 54 km of the cyclone centre is about 62 kph, rising to 88 kph in gusts and squalls. The sea will be very rough near the cyclone centre.
The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre also forecast the cyclone to make landfall on the Cox’s Bazar-Myanmar coastline on Sunday. The maximum sustained wind speed may rise to 150 kph at that time, it said.
Cyclone Mocha, however, may change the point of landfall if it changes course.
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