D-day for SPM 2020 cohort

Safe environment: Pkharuddin said candidates are allowed to eat in the exam halls and that food will be delivered to them. (photo by Bernama)

THE Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 exams start tomorrow and the Education Ministry assures parents that the health and safety of students is a priority.

Examinations Syndicate director Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali said the ministry issued revised guidelines on Feb 9 titled “School Management and Operations Under the New Norm 2.0”, which is an improvement of previous versions of the document.

While the basis of the guidelines remain the same, certain improvements were made based on the country’s current Covid-19 situation, he said.

The guidelines can be viewed at moe.gov.my/muat-turun/pekeliling-dan-garis-panduan/4109-garis-panduan-pengurusan-dan-pengoperasian-sekolah-dalam-norma-baharu-2-0/file.

“We will brief the National Union of the Teaching Profession and parent-teacher associations so they understand the preparations and are able to help us.

“The SPM 2020 exam experience is out of the ordinary because of the Covid-19 pandemic. To return to normalcy, everyone must be open to different views and work together, ” he said, adding that SPM candidates who tested positive for Covid-19 or are quarantined as a result of being in close contact with a positive case, will not be allowed to sit for the exam.

“They will be allowed to sit for the rescheduled exam if they produce certified documents to prove they are free of the virus. Our students’ safety is our main priority.

“We have done our best to ensure that the exam is conducted smoothly in a safe environment. Every evening, the exam halls will be sanitised.

“And we are also allowing exam candidates to eat in the exam halls; food will be delivered to them, ” he said during a televised interview with Bernama on Monday.

Dismissing a recent report by a Malay language daily, he said there are no changes to the SPM 2020 exam format.

“The curriculum and standard of questions, too, remain the same.

“Any changes to the format will take a minimum of three years to carry out because we need to study it, ” he said, adding that the SPM certification, is of international standard and is accredited by international experts.

“Therefore, the ministry cannot make changes as we wish because it affects many factors, such as students’ opportunity to study abroad, to receive scholarships and to enter the workforce.”

Separately, Education director-general Datuk Dr Habibah Abdul Rahim said the challenges (of conducting the exam) lie in students following the standard operating procedures set in the guidelines.

Parents should also ensure their children are healthy when attending school in order to curb the spread of the virus, she said.

“Some of the improvements made in the new guidelines include the use of face masks, how we disperse the students from school, what to do and how to manage teachers, students and the school staff if a positive case is reported, if a person is a close contact or if they show symptoms and the management of central assessment and examination, ” she said in another televised interview on Monday.

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