Time and time again, the COVID-19 pandemic has made the unimaginable and absurd occur.
Before the coronavirus emerged, no one would have believed that meeting your friends would one day be illegal, or that all the bubble tea stores in the country would close at once.
But the threat of the coronavirus has forced the Government to impose restrictions it wouldn’t normally implement, and take drastic measures that would otherwise seem unthinkable.
This time, primary school students are at the ones the authorities are concerned about, as the Ministry of Education (MOE) announced that exams will be cancelled for some of them this year.
So, who’s affected? How will the affected pupils be graded? And when are students returning to school?
Here are 10 facts about the MOE announcement that even fortune tellers didn’t see coming:
Year-end Exams for Primary 3 & 4 Pupils Cancelled
Yes, you read that right.
The year-end examinations for Primary 3 and 4 pupils will be cancelled this year, MOE announced this afternoon (7 Oct).
The ministry explained in its statement that the cancellation would allow “more time for curriculum recovery due to disruptions brought about by COVID-19.”
70,000 Pupils Will Be Affected
With Primary 3 and 4 students from all schools affected by the cancellation, there will be a huge number of pupils who won’t have to sit for an exam at the end of this year.
In fact, according to The Straits Times, 70,000 pupils are believed to be affected by this cancellation.
It’s The First Time Since the Start of the Pandemic That Exams Have Been Cancelled
This is the first time that year-end exams have been cancelled since start of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
In April 2020, the government announced that school-based, mid-year examinations will be cancelled, as students shifted to home-based learning.
Pupils Will Be Graded in a Different Manner
Naturally, parents and students will wonder how these affected pupils will be graded now that there are no year-end exams.
According to MOE, schools will “draw on information from a range of school-based assessments that were conducted throughout the year to report students’ learning progress and provide feedback”.
They will also make recommendations on students’ subject combination, such as whether to offer Standard or Foundation level for specific subjects from the start of Primary 5.
Exams For Primary 5 Students Will Proceed
The good (or bad?) news for Primary 5 students is that their year-end exams will go ahead as planned.
Strict safe management measures (SMMs) will be in place, of course.
Going ahead with Primary 5 examinations will “allow students and parents to obtain a better understanding of students’ learning progress in relation to the Achievement Level (AL) scoring system, prior to taking the PSLE next year,” MOE explained.
There are no year-end examinations for Primary 1 and 2 students.
Primary 1 to 6 Pupils Will Return to the Classroom Next Week
As all parents know, Primary 1 to 5 pupils and those from special education schools have been placed on home-based learning (HBL) since 27 Sep.
This was done to minimise the risk of transmission in schools and to reduce any potential disruption to the cohort taking their PSLE.
But these students will soon return to the classroom.
Primary 3 to 6 pupils will return to school for face-to-face classes next Monday (11 Oct), while Primary 1 and 2 students will return to the classroom only next Wednesday (13 Oct).
This phased approach ensures that SMMs can be implemented effectively, MOE said.
Face-to-face Tuition Lessons for Pupils Aged 12 and Below Can Resume
In addition, face-to-face lessons for students aged 12 and below at tuition and enrichment centres may resume from 11 October as well, with strict SMMs in place.
However, the education ministry strongly encouraged these centres to continue conducting these classes online “as much as possible.”
Face-to-face classes for students aged 12 and below in private education institutions (PEI) may also resume from 11 October, subject to the prevailing SMMs.
“PEIs with similar student profiles and that conduct similar activities to schools are strongly advised to take reference from measures for schools, and adopt them where possible,” MOE said.
“This includes phasing the return of students, and self-testing of students prior to returning to school. PEIs may also continue to implement HBL for their students where feasible.”
CCAs Will Continue to Be Suspended at All Levels
While students will be returning to the classroom, the ministry is still taking precautions with regard to other in-school activities.
This is why co-curricular activities (CCAs) and other after-school activities will continue to be suspended not just at primary schools but at all levels, including secondary schools, junior colleges, and Millennia Institute.
Pupils Will Need to Take an ART Before Resuming Classes
In its statement, MOE also requested parents of Primary 1 to 5 students to do an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) swab on their children at home on either 8 or 9 October prior to returning to school.
They should then report these results via a link that will be sent to them.
Primary School Pupils Will Have NO Lessons From 18 to 22 Oct
The 2021 PSLE Marking Exercise will be conducted over four days, from 18 to 21 October. During this period, primary school students need not come to school.
What’s more, for this year, the day after the marking exercise – 22 Oct – will be declared a school holiday.
This means that primary school students will not have any lessons – whether in class or at home – from 18 Oct to 24 Oct.
They will return to school on 25 Oct, which falls on a Monday.
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Featured Image: Facebook (Chan Chun Sing)
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