Mixed reactions to new exam dates

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PETALING JAYA: The new dates for major examinations will lead to very stressful situations for teachers, especially those who double up as examiners.

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National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan said teachers would not be able to give their all in teaching the new batch of Form Five and Form Six students if they have to also spend time marking the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM) scripts.

This issue, he said, was only one of many problems that could arise.

The announcement of the new dates took teachers by surprise. Teachers were not consulted when the schedule was being prepared, and schools have yet to be officially notified by their respective education departments (PPD), he said.

“Teachers informed me that they only found out about the new dates through newspapers and WhatsApp messages. The selection of dates seemed to have been done arbitrarily. Many teachers are worried about finishing the syllabus.

“The SPM dates are too close to the year-end holidays. Even students are also worried about completing the syllabus, ” he said.

Describing the new schedule as “chaotic”, Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) vice-president Adam Prakash Abdullah said the decision did not sit well with teachers.

Noting that teachers would have to teach their regular classes while simultaneously marking exam papers, Adam said it would be too much for educators to handle.

“Teachers have been conducting online classes throughout the movement control order (MCO). They deserve a break after such a hectic period, ” said Adam.

The new schedule, said Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education (Magpie) chairman Mak Chee Kin, does not have details of the exam timetable.

It was best to conduct exams as early as possible to avoid disrupting the school term for the new batch of Forms Five and Six students, he said.

“Early January is apt. Otherwise, schools will have logistics and staffing problems when the next batch of Forms Five and Six students start their term.

“The delay in the exams will add to the teachers’ workload, who will have to mark exam papers while teaching their usual classes. This will be taxing on them.”

Mak, who is also the Kolej Tingkatan Enam Tun Fatimah’s Parent-Teacher Association chairman, said students welcomed the new dates.

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“I was informed that teachers and students are fully prepared for the exams to be conducted early January. In fact, some of them are calling for the ministry to conduct the exams in December this year.

“Without extracurricular activities, teachers said they have time to concentrate on completing the syllabus, ” he said.

In a statement on Sunday, the Education Ministry announced that the dates of major examinations have been postponed to the first quarter of 2021.

The ministry said the examination calendar was amended based on changes made to the 2020 academic calendar.

The written SPM examination will be rescheduled to between Jan 6 and Feb 9 next year instead of Nov 16 to Dec 7,2020.

The new STPM dates are rescheduled to Aug 12-18 this year (for Semester 2) and to March 1-9 next year (for Semester 3).

The Sijil Vokasional Malaysia exams will be held in August, September and October this year (Session 1), and January and May 2021 (Session 2).

The written Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia exam is rescheduled to Feb 17-25 next year.

“As the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia has been postponed to 2021, there was a need to re-arrange certain logistical aspects for the examinations.

“This would also include detailed dates for the start of the school term for 2021, which will be released later.

“The rescheduling of the start of the term is important to ensure that school term next year will proceed smoothly, ” it said.

On April 15, the ministry announced that the SPM would be postponed to 2021 with the cancellation of the Form Three assessment (PT3) and UPSR 2020 examinations.

Such a move was to enable “students to have an adequate amount of time to learn and prepare to sit for their examinations”, it said after schools were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, on March 29, the ministry announced that the written portion of the SPM and the STPM (Semester 2 and 3) were to be conducted from November this year.

-The Star

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