No mid-year exams amid Covid-19 pandemic but national, varsity exams to continue

National exams are considered essential and will continue even as schools close, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said.
National exams are considered essential and will continue even as schools close, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Schools will do away with mid-year examinations to reduce anxiety for students amid the Covid-19 pandemic, said Education Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (April 3).

But national exams are considered essential and will continue even as schools close, Mr Ong said during a multi-ministry coronavirus task force press conference.

This includes oral and written mother tongue language exams on June 1 and 2, which will proceed as scheduled, he added.

"The numbers are not huge. We will decentralise the seating, with safe distancing, and that can continue."

As for year-end exams such as the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and O-level, N-level and A-level exams, there is no need to worry for now. Mr Ong said the ministry will monitor the situation and make adjustments if need be.

For example, if curriculum teaching is compromised, some topics can be taken out of the exam papers. Marking can also be adjusted to be more lenient in such cases.

Meanwhile, autonomous universities will move completely to online lessons, Mr Ong said. Exams will continue as online take-home assignments.

The current situation requiring online and home-based learning is "far from ideal" from an educational point of view, said Mr Ong.

"We know that education is holistic. It is really not just about covering the curriculum - that is the easy part. Education is a social process and a social journey. But we must make the best of it, given the current situation we are in."

He called on parents to take the opportunity to teach their children about the virus. They should also read widely. "Stay safe, stay home, stay curious," he said.