PETALING JAYA: It is only some three weeks away to the first Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) written paper and with Covid-19 cases rising dramatically, parents are worried over their children’s fate.
Silence on the part of the Education Ministry over how the exams would be conducted is causing anxiety to parents, especially since this will be the first time their children would be sitting for the SPM using the new Standard-Based Curriculum for Secondary Schools (KSSM) and exam format.
Nellie from Petaling Jaya is one such parent.
She said the ministry should inform and empower schools to answer parents’ questions about next month’s SPM exams.
“Based on my own experience, the teacher-in-charge of the SPM could not answer me when I asked what is going to happen now that quite a few teachers (in that school), who are supposed to be examiners, have tested positive for Covid-19,” she said.
“What is the ministry’s plan when such a situation arises?”
Nellie said the ministry could also provide sufficient masks for unvaccinated students during the exams.
“It would be an added precautionary measure,” she said.
Business owner Victor Tan, whose son is sitting for the exam in Penang, said schools and exams should continue for the sake of the children’s education.
“As the St Xavier’s Institution board of governors’ chairman, I will ensure that all measures are taken and the necessary support given so that the school’s administration can continue carrying out its duties in ensuring the safety of all our school-going children,” said Tan.
Alan Goh concurs. The SMK (P) Assunta PTA chairman said the SPM should proceed with no postponements.
“Otherwise, the domino effect would be far greater affecting SPM candidates’ tertiary education,” he said.
He said both the Education and Health ministries should work hand-in-hand to ensure all safety measures taken were up to par.
Faizal Mohammad Arshad said he believed that schools were already strict with exam standard operating procedure (SOP).
“However, to further protect the students, I suggest that Form One to Form Four students of the 2021 batch be allowed to continue with home-based teaching and learning for the rest of the third semester – that ends this month – while Form Five return for face-to-face learning,” said the SMK Cochrane and SMK (P) Bandaraya PTA chairman.
“They have not had proper face-to-face lessons for the past two years and need this badly.”
Parent Action Group for Education chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said schools should be given the autonomy to decide on the best course of action after consulting their PTAs.
She said this was because there were many factors to consider which are unique to each school, including the number of students and space constraints.
“On the other hand, it may be more tedious for the Examination Syndicate to do this,” Noor Azimah said, adding that some exams could be conducted online.
“There may also be a need to delay some exams if students are in quarantine,” she said, adding that tight security would also need to be put in place to ensure question papers were not leaked.
Educationist Prof Tan Sri Dr T. Marimuthu said before implementing more measures, the Education Ministry should first find out what caused the rise in education clusters.
“This despite having strict measures in place,” he said.
After identifying the weaknesses, he said a solution should be provided.