SPM 2021 postponed

All ears: Students listening to Radzi during his press conference on the ministry’s Facebook page. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star

PETALING JAYA: For the second time, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) candidates will be sitting for their national examinations in the following year.

Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin said the oral and science practical exams for SPM 2021 will commence in February 2022 while the written exams will begin in March.

“The ministry decided to do this after taking into account the current situation and challenges faced by the SPM 2021 exam candidates, ” he said during a press conference yesterday.

“The ministry is confident the national exams, normally held in November pre-pandemic, will run smoothly as we already have experience from shifting the 2020 examinations to February 2021.”

Radzi said for SPM 2020, the Malaysian Examinations Board had created a detailed standard operating procedure for conducting a public examination during a pandemic.

The SOP, he added, saw an increase in the distance between tables, the number of invigilators and the number of classrooms used for the examinations in order to keep students safe from the virus.

The number of candidates for SPM 2021 has not been finalised as registration only closes on June 18 but according to the ministry’s website, there are currently more than 14,000 Form Five students in the country.

Over 40,000 students sat for SPM 2020 in February this year after going through nearly a full year of home-based learning.

The Pakatan Harapan Education Committee and Opposition Parties also released a joint statement yesterday on the ministry’s manner in handling the SPM 2020 examinations.

“The failure of the Education Ministry in managing SPM 2020 has caused unnecessary mental and physical stress to students, teachers and parents, ” said the statement signed by 10 opposition politicians, including former Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik and former Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching and former Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.

It said the SPM 2021 cohort will be the first to undergo the new exam format, announced only last year, and are also the first to use the new Secondary School Standard Curriculum (KSSM) that was introduced in 2017.

The introduction of these new aspects, coupled with the disrupted school sessions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, would mean that SPM 2021 students would face bigger challenges than the SPM 2020 candidates, it stated.

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