‘Exam schedules will be muddled’

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 05 Aug 2020

PETALING JAYA: Pushing back the date for the new school term will affect next year’s major examination schedules, say teachers.

Their concerns were raised following Education Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin’s announcement that the new school year for 2021 will begin on Jan 20, much later than the usual period, after taking into consideration the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A Form Six teacher from Melaka said the new date would affect the syllabus for the Form Six Semester 1 students as their exams would be held in February.

The teacher, who only wished to be known as Jeyanti, questioned whether the exam dates for Semester 2 would be delayed.

“We are worried about the domino effect as a result of the delay in school reopening on other exam dates. Dates were changed without informing teachers, ” she claimed.

A Chinese school principal from Subang Jaya, who wanted to be known only as Ng, said announcing the new date for the 2021 schooling year was not enough.

“We also need to know the number of school days. Will it be reduced so that the academic calendar can return to normal next year?” she asked, referring to having major exams at the end of the academic year.The National Union of the Teaching Profession said it had received some feedback over the later start date.

Its secretary-general Harry Tan said one of the concerns was that the SPM Science paper was scheduled on the same day – Jan 20,2021.

“How will this work? Science is a core paper for non-pure science students.

“Some school heads have voiced their concerns that schools will be overcrowded on the first day and teachers may not have enough time to conduct their lessons as they would have to simultaneously mark SPM papers.

“Our stand is for the ministry to have more engagements with us, ” he added.

While teachers were of the opinion that starting school at a later date would have ramifications in teaching and learning and on the syllabi, some parents welcomed the announcement.

A mother of two, who only wished to be known as Fauzia, agreed with the date as long as all parties involved adhered to the stipulated standard operating procedure.

“Let’s hope that by January, the situation will get better. The later date gives parents more time to prepare for the new school term, ” she said.

Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin described the announcement as a “popular idea”.

He said teachers, students and parents must sacrifice during difficult times.

“Teachers will have to work extra hours and forgo their holidays for the sake of their students, ” he said.

A Form Four student Rovin Luke said he preferred going back to school later since the year-end school holidays were shortened.

Luke said he would use the extra time to rest before preparing for the SPM exam, which he would be sitting for next year.

On Monday, Mohd Radzi said the delay in year-end exams, as well as the short year-end school breaks, were among the considerations taken in the new school year.

The year-end school holidays for this year had originally been slated to begin on Dec 18 and end on Dec 31, depending on the states.

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