Hopeful despite SPM trial exam delay

Testing times: Health Ministry personnel taking particulars of students from SK Tropicana before swab tests at Dewan Kompleks Sukan Kelana Jaya. — AZHAR MAHFOF/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Form Five students whose SPM trial exams have been put on hold due to the implementation of the two-week conditional movement control order (MCO) are frustrated over the uncertainty but will keep on fighting.

Despite looking forward to ending SPM trials quickly, Saw Jun Han said the conditional MCO was a right move by the government.

“The spread of Covid-19 is getting worse. Studying at home and having online classes are needed.

“I wanted SPM trials to end as soon as possible but I am choosing to look on the bright side... we have more time to prepare!

“This is a special year for us and we can learn from it,” said Jun Han, adding that he plans to study two hours a day during the conditional MCO period to better prepare himself for the trials.

A student from Kuala Lumpur, who declined to be named, said she would not waste time complaining but would incorporate her habits from normal schooling days to provide structure and a sense of normalcy during the conditional MCO period at home.

“I’m waking up at the same time as I would during a normal school day.

“I’m also making more effort to exercise because staying at home to study all day is a very sedentary lifestyle.

“The uncertainty as to when SPM trials will resume adds to my apprehension. I also have lingering pressure to be productive every second of the day and I feel guilty if I’m not.

“But overall it’s not too bad since we’ve all been through this situation before,” she added.

Hallie Avisha Vethamoney from Selangor said she chose public safety over the SPM trial exams.

“All of us just need to stay strong and carry on doing our best. Although I dreaded the postponement of trials, I have more time to study now for better results. It’s tiring but I understand the situation,” said Hallie.

A student who wanted to be identified as Constance said she had grown accustomed to new norms and was expecting for the conditional MCO to happen.

“I will adhere to the guidelines set by the government and take this opportunity to improve myself in terms of education and encourage myself to not get affected by the situation again.

“SPM trials are extremely important for Form Five students since we’ll be using that to apply for scholarships.

“However, I understand that this action has been taken for safety,” she said.

Constance added that people should not linger on issues and continue with life.

National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Harry Tan believes students and teachers are a resilient bunch who can overcome challenges.

Noting that the conditional MCO affected all levels of society, he said the only way for teachers to ride out this storm was to use skills and experience acquired over the years.

“NUTP is always worried for the well-being of our teachers. Hence, the numerous responses to various situations.

“Meanwhile, there will definitely be disruptions but I believe our teachers are professionals who can make up the time either through extra classes or extra individual attention,” said Tan.

Advising all students and teachers to limit their movements out of the house, Sarawak Teachers’ Union (STU) secretary-general Chung Fui San said teachers, especially from Sabah and Sarawak, were feeling anxiety and stress while students felt uncertain about their future.

“Teachers and students are worried due to the shortened time for exam preparation. Teachers are short of time to conduct comprehensive drills for students – whose momentum has been affected – due to the limited access to the Internet.”

“Home-based learning is affected by limited Internet. Teachers have tried reaching students using different platforms.

“In rural areas, teachers walked for a few hours to villages to send assignments to students.”

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