COVID-19 and university admission exams: A Bangladesh perspective

  • Shakila Aziz
    School of Business and Economics, United International University, United City, Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Kazi Md. Mohsin Uzzal
    Ministry of Public Administration, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Secretariat, Dhaka , Bangladesh.
  • Aziz Saqiba
    Honorary Medical Officer, National Institute of Mental Health, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Sher-E-Bangla Naga, Dhaka, Bangladesh.


Background: Educational institutions have been closed in Bangladesh due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and board exams like Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams, as well as university admission exams have been suspended. Secondary school students have been promoted based on past performance. As the time has come for students to take admission into universities, educational authorities must make decisions about the logistical and public health arrangements that could allow universities to conduct admission exams.

Design and methods
: The public health and lockdown policies were analyzed during the timeframe of 25th March to 15th October. Time series models of the trend of COVID-19 were prepared for the near future using the ARIMA technique, for the lockdown phase and the post lockdown phase. This was evaluated in juxtaposition with the restrictions relating to travel, work, schools, public gatherings, face masks, etc. The models were then used to forecast positivity rates for two weeks into the future.

: The curve was not bent during the strict lockdown phase, but the post lockdown phase eventually saw a decline in positivity rates. The best models selected were ARIMA(0,1,7) for the lockdown stage, and ARIMA(7,1,0) for the post lockdown stage. AIC, BIC, RMSE, MAE, and MAPE criteria were used for model selection.

: Many restrictions of the lockdown phase have been continued until the present time, and disease case positivity rates have declined. However, the resumption of work and domestic travel has not prevented the control of the spread of the disease. It may therefore be possible to conduct in-person admission test exams for universities, while maintaining social distancing, face masks and other public health measures.


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