Another Muslim related controversy within the British schooling system. We’ve had halal food forced on many pupils, many controversial Muslim free schools set up enforcing sex segregation and compulsory headscarf wearing for non Muslim staff, then only a matter of weeks ago the attempted takeover of state schools by Muslim extremists. Now we have attempts to appease Muslims by changing the dates of GCSEs to avoid clashes with Ramadam or give Muslims extra points because they were fasting.
I had to double check the date to make sure it wasn’t an April fools day joke. As much as a joke it seems, its no wind up. Only the latest bit of pandering to Muslims as authorities continue to bend over for Muslims.
Bid to bring forward GCSEs so Muslim pupils aren’t fasting for Ramadan while they take their exams
- Efforts to ‘minimise impact’ will be debated at ATL conference this month
- Exam watchdog Ofqual has met with Muslim groups to discuss the issue
- Suggestions include holding exams in morning when pupils are less hungry
GCSE and A-level examinations could be brought forward for hundreds of thousands of pupils to avoid a clash with Ramadan under controversial proposals.
Teachers and lecturers in England and Wales are pushing for the summer exam timetable to be altered to help Muslim students who will be fasting when they sit papers.School exam boards and universities are considering the radical shake-up from 2016, when the religious period of Ramadan clashes with the exam season.
Fast: A girl reads from the Koran on the last Friday of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (file photo). Muslims across the world abstain from eating and drinking from sunrise to sunset during the period
One option is to hold some exams earlier within the usual May-June exam season. Another is for fasting Muslim students to be eligible for extra marks under ‘special consideration’ rules if they believe their performance has been affected.
The holy period in the Islamic calendar, which requires Muslims to fast during daylight hours, starts to fall earlier and earlier in the summer from next year, progressively clashing with the exam season in June. The clash also coincides with Michael Gove’s return to O-level style exams, which are taken at the end of the two-year course rather than at intervals throughout it – making the summer exams the only chance to do well.
This month, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Union (ATL) conference will debate how to ‘minimise the impact’ on Muslim pupils.
Barry Lingard, who is on the ATL executive committee, said: ‘The consequences are quite huge, particularly with the return to three-hour exams at the end of the course in the summer.
If some of the big vital exams like English and maths could be rescheduled for before Ramadan kicks in, that would certainly be supported by the majority of teachers.’
Ofqual, the exam watchdog, and the Joint Council for Qualifications, which represents the main three exam boards, have met with Muslim groups to discuss the issue.
Changes: Suggestions including holding exams in the mornings making it easier for pupils to concentrateAnother suggestion is to run exams in the morning, when pupils are less likely to be hungry and tired, rather than the afternoon.
The government-funded Equality Challenge Unit, which advises higher education, said exam time-tables should be overhauled.
‘Institutions should be prepared to consider significant adjustments to their exam schedules and think creatively about assessment methods in order to eliminate disadvantage to particular groups,’ it said.
Muslim undergraduates at university are also affected by the clash of dates. At the University of East Anglia in Norwich, they have already been told: ‘Where a student feels that fasting has affected their performance, this should be submitted as an extenuating circumstance.’
But Chris McGovern, a former head teacher and spokesman for the Campaign for Real Education, said children had been coping with exams for decades in many different circumstances.
‘Where there is scope for some flexibility the exam boards should exercise it, but I don’t think it is realistic for a board to rearrange their timetable to fit in with a minority religion, or any religion for that matter,’ he said.
‘If you run exams in the morning because of this, you may be disadvantaging a non-Muslim pupil who then has two exams in one day rather than one.’
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