Schools to remain open on Oct 1, national exams to proceed as haze may enter very unhealthy range

Picture taken at about 3.30pm on Sept 30, 2015, when the 3-hour PSI reading was at 203.
Picture taken at about 3.30pm on Sept 30, 2015, when the 3-hour PSI reading was at 203.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Schools will remain open and national examinations will proceed as scheduled on Thursday (Oct 1), with haze conditions expected to remain in the unhealthy range or cross into the very unhealthy levels.

The Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) starts on Thursday.

Schools have made arrangements for all national exam candidates to take their papers in enclosed space, said a joint statement from the Ministry of Education and the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board on Wednesday (Sept 30) night.

Air purifiers will also be provided so that it is safe for the exams to continue without disruption, even if haze conditions unexpectedly worsen.

According to the National Environment Agency (NEA), the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) forecast for Thursday is expected to be in the high end of the unhealthy range and low end of the very unhealthy range. It may deteriorate to the mid-section of the very unhealthy range if denser haze is blown in.

Currently, there are already processes in place for candidates who are ill during the national exams, said the joint statement, adding that the same set of processes will be activated for candidates who are unable to take the exams due to haze-related illnesses.

"The safety and well-being of all examination candidates remain our top priority," it added. 


Candidates who feel unwell while taking the exams should inform the examination invigilators immediately. Schools and examination centres are prepared and ready to handle such situations.

"Candidates can be assured that they will not be penalised or disadvantaged if they are unable to take or complete the examinations due to haze or other medical conditions," said the statement.

In an unprecedented move, all primary and secondary schools across Singapore were closed for a day last Friday (Sept 25) due to worsening haze conditions which saw the 24-hour PSI crossing into the hazardous level of above 300. Two national exams - the GCE O-Level Music and Higher Music Practicals - scheduled last Friday were postponed to Tuesday (Sept 29), affecting more than 100 students.

The joint statement urged candidates with underlying medical conditions or who feel unwell to seek medical attention. Those who are medically certified unwell and are unable to sit for the exams were asked to inform their schools.

Private candidates should inform the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board through the Ministry of Education's customer service hotline at 6872 2220. The hotline's operating hours are 8am to 6pm on Mondays to Fridays, and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.