Exams to be taken earlier in the day to fit around Ramadan, exam boards say

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I am so angry at this suggestion. From the Telegraph.

GCSE and A-level exams could be rejigged this summer to take into account the impact of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during daylight hours, the exam boards have said.

Tests could be taken earlier in the day, when Muslim students are the least hungry, or even before the start of the exams season, before the holy month begins in early June – or set at a time to lessen the effect on Muslim students.

The news followed comments from the children’s commissioner Anne Longfield, who said talks were being held around “delaying the exam timetable” to lessen the impact on taking tests for Muslim students.

Ramadan has been gradually moving into the summer exams season in England – which runs from the end of May and throughout most of June – over the last few years. This year the period when Muslims observe fasting will fall between June 6 and July 5, which coincides when many of the summer exams take place.

As the window available for students to sit papers is tight, exams would not be able to be delayed, but there is scope for movement within the regular schedule, it was suggested. 

There has been pressure in the past to change the exams schedule to accommodate Muslims sitting tests. In 2014, members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers urged examiners to take account of Ramadan.

Separately, the JCQ had said it could run tests with the largest number of entrants in the morning to prevent Muslim students taking them when they are the most hungry. 

Ramadan has taken place in the summer before, but Muslims were not so powerful in the UK then as they are now. I recall in my youth suggestions that the June exams be moved for the benefit of hay fever sufferers – that idea was given short shrift. The majority were not to be inconvenienced for the benefit of a minority. Muslims are also still a minority but one flexing its muscles.

Another alternative is that children taking exams be classed as children and thus exempt from fasting. Travellers and those engaged on jihad are another group exempt. We are always being told that jihad can be defined as a ‘personal struggle’. All they need is a fatwa giving children an exemption while they pursue their personal jihad to gain their qualifications. Simples.

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