PHILIPSBURG–Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport (ECYS) Rodolphe Samuel has announced his decision to cancel final-year examinations for students.
In a letter to school boards on April 3 Samuel noted measures taken for the continuation of examinations for students in their final year of primary and secondary schools as well as those in advanced vocational education.
The letter stated, “The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport has taken note of the recent questions from school boards and the concerns raised in the community regarding the decision to close the schools as a preventative measure related to the pandemic caused by COVID-19 and to address the consequences for primary and secondary students.”
According to the letter, Foundation-Based Education (FBE) examinations are cancelled. Secondary Education Placement will be determined based on the school’s advice as stipulated in the Education Report.
“To ensure that all pupils receive the education they require, all parties involved are requested to monitor the developments of the cohort of students who will enter into secondary education in the school year 2020-2021,” Samuel said.
The traffic exams for students in the group 7 classes have also been cancelled.
The central written and practical exams for VSBO-TKL/PBL/PKL, HAVO, and VWO students have been cancelled in accordance with the decision in the Netherlands and in Curaçao.
“An amended passing regulation for the school year 2019-2020, based on the school exams, is currently being drafted. More information regarding this will be provided in a subsequent mail,” said Samuel.
The Caribbean Examinations Council CXC recognised the impact of the COVID-19 virus on the education system in general and on the schedule of CXC’s regional examinations, said the letter. Accordingly, CXC has proposed a revised examinations strategy to yield valid grades and minimise the disruption to the education system during these unprecedented times.
“Cambridge International announced in March the worldwide cancellation of its IGCSE [International General Certificate of Secondary Education – Ed.] and all other exams in 2020 because of the COVID-19 virus. Details related to this will be provided in a subsequent communique,” he added.
Diploma Programme Exams scheduled between April 30 and May 22 for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme will no longer be held.
“Depending on what students registered for, they will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on the student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programme,” said Samuel.
He said the examinations for Advanced Vocational Education are expected to be completed, as they are not dependent on external examinations.
Samuel urged the school boards to proceed with these examinations in a safe and responsible manner and pay attention to the contents of Policy Brief provided to all school boards regarding the continuity of schooling during the COVID-19 school closures and the action plan. He said this information relates to distance learning, as no “face-to-face” learning or assessments will take place at this time as a pre-emptive measure given the current pandemic.
In cases where teachers are required to report to the school premises to facilitate distance learning, those who are not well, in quarantine or have a vulnerable health situation are not permitted to report to the school compound, said Samuel.
“Teachers must always maintain a safe social distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other when on the school compound. Sufficient supplies for sanitation are available to ensure clean working environments for teachers and ancillary staff that are expected to support the process, including, but not limited to, disposable wipes for cleaning surfaces, tissue for sneezing and coughing, Lysol for sanitising various spaces and hand-sanitiser,” he added.
“In the interest of ensuring that all students have the opportunity to complete their studies and obtain their diplomas as scheduled, I ask your cooperation and assistance in facilitating and enforcing these measures.”
In closing he requested that the school boards distribute this letter to all parents of their students, explaining the measures regarding the safe continuation of the exams and urging them to allow their child or children to sit the exams as scheduled, albeit remotely, as long as their health permits.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/final-exams-have-been-cancelled