The Malta Independent 5 June 2020, Friday

Growing concerns: Will MATSEC exams take place or not?

Giulia Magri Thursday, 26 March 2020, 07:01 Last update: about 3 months ago

In light of the COVID-19 concerns, MATSEC has cancelled all oral examinations, yet written exams are still scheduled to be held as from 23 April.

In their latest statement, the MATSEC board are still confirming dates as it continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Such uncertainty has brought on extra pressure and anxiety for students who are meant to be sitting for their examinations next month.

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On Tuesday, the Nationalist Party pushed for the government to decide whether MATSEC exams will go ahead as planned. PN MP Claudette Buttigieg had highlighted that the best way forward should be to postpone examinations.

A petition has been circling on social media, proposing that MATSEC orals and listening examinations should still be held, but in June. The petition was set up by Melaine Charles, an educator who points out that not having oral and listening examinations will put students at a disadvantage.

“Students who have stronger skills in the orals and listening components of an exam, have a higher chance of failing. Basing the grade only on the written component of the SEC exam is unjust.”

The petition is calling for an alternative, instead of cancelling orals and listening exams, the examinations should be held in June, and be held in the same secondary school students attend. She added that for markers to have more time to correct exams, the start of Post-Secondary schools should be in October, not in September.

Student organisation SDM has also spoken up regarding the upcoming MATSEC examinations. The organisation has set up an online consultation for students to voice their concerns regarding the O level and A level examinations. SDM highlight that to safeguard both the physical and mental health of students, SEC and MATSEC examinations should not take place on the dates planned.

“We feel that it would be best to delay the current session of examinations by 1 or 2 months, depending on how the situation evolves in the coming weeks. This would be beneficial for students to have more time to prepare and catch up on any parts of the syllabus which have not been covered, through an online medium such as recorded lectures, presentations, notes and others.”

Students are concerned about their health, and that no examination should take place if it is not safe. “It must be kept in mind that thousands of students sit for these exams; which are held in a classroom of around 30 people,” read SDM’s statement. The statement highlighted that students and parents also meet outside the examination venue, which is also dangerous for everyone’s health.

“Students have already been put under much pressure to prepare well by their respective schools and teachers. These students should know whether they will be sitting for these exams or not in the next month.” SDM highlighted that many students would not have finished the full syllabus before the exams.

Apart from appealing for MATSEC exams to be postponed, SDM also said that oral and listening examinations should also take place at a later stage, and that resit session be moved back by two weeks, meaning that the start of the next scholastic year would be slightly delayed to accommodate these changes.

SDM also mentioned that if such proposals were to be taken on board, students will have less time to enjoy the summer holidays. “We believe that under these circumstances, it is our duty as students and as citizens, to make our sacrifices.”

Pulse awaiting MATSEC’s decision

Pulse, meanwhile, said: “We await MATSEC's decision which they said will be published by the end of March and we hope that every decision taken will be taken for the benefit of all students. Even though students are currently home and we encourage every student to make use of this time and study, we also understand that with all these developments happening every day it is not easy to prepare for what in the respective students eyes are the most important exams of their life.”

 

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