Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Worried over varsity delays, govt mulls back-to-school plan for some students

Otherwise, the exam system and university admissions will be affected in the long run.

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The education ministry is urging the government to allow Form Five and pre-university students to attend school for regular classroom sessions despite the conditional movement control order (CMCO) imposed in Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, and Putrajaya in response to sharp spikes in case numbers.

It is learnt that Education Minister Radzi Jidin had voiced concern during a recent high-level meeting on Covid-19 that the SPM examination would be delayed yet again, affecting the exam system and university admissions for at least two years.

“The prime minister asked the ministry to decide (whether to allow students to attend school or postpone examinations), but the health director-general said there was no need as he was confident the number of cases in these states would go down within a few weeks,” a source told MalaysiaNow.

The meeting in question was chaired by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin and attended by Cabinet members, heads of agencies, and top government advisors.

The source said during the meeting, Radzi had voiced concern that the exam system would be affected in the long run if the Covid-19 situation is not controlled.

“He said the teachers are under pressure and even Form Four students have had enough trouble with class sessions during the pandemic.”

However, the source said there is no official decision yet on the matter.

The worry is that SPM candidates might have to take their exams next year, while those sitting for papers next year will have to take them in 2022.

The delay would affect university enrolment.

“If more delays occur, the application period for entrance to university will also be affected,” the source said.

This year’s SPM students were supposed to sit for their exams from Nov 16 to Dec 7, but the dates were pushed forward to allow them more time for their studies after the first lockdown, implemented on March 18.

The education ministry shifted the dates to between Jan 6 and Feb 9 next year, while the UPSR and PT3 exams were cancelled.

STPM candidates, meanwhile, took their second semester papers in August, while the third semester exams will be held in March 2021.

The CMCO in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor saw most schools in the states shut down as authorities struggled to contain a new wave of Covid-19 infections.

The conditional lockdown was initially slated to end last month but was extended another two weeks until Nov 9.

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