PSLE, GCE oral exam candidates must wear masks: MOE and SEAB

SINGAPORE, June 2, 2020  -- A primary school student wearing a face shield arrives at school in Singapore on June 2, 2020. Schools in Singapore reopened on Tuesday as the state embarked on a phased reopening from a COVID-19
A primary school student wearing a face shield arrives at school in Singapore on 2 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Xinhua via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — All candidates and oral examiners will be required to wear surgical masks during the upcoming PSLE and Singapore-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (GCE) oral examinations.

"As facial expressions will not be taken into consideration for the assessment, candidates will not be disadvantaged by the wearing of surgical masks during oral examinations," added the joint statement by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB) on Wednesday (23 June).

Candidates will not be allowed to sit for the PSLE and GCE oral and listening comprehension examinations if they have COVID-19, are placed on quarantine order or stay home notice.

Those issued with a leave of absence due to close contact with confirmed cases or as a result of staying in same household with individuals on quarantine order are also not allowed to sit for the examinations.

This also applies to those on medical leave due to acute respiratory Infection, or are on approved absence, as a result of staying in same household with members – aged six and above – who have flu-like symptoms.

"As the oral examinations are conducted over several days, candidates who miss the oral examinations on their assigned date with valid reasons (e.g. vaccination appointment that was booked earlier) can take the examinations on another date within the oral examination window or sit for the make-up oral examination," said the statement.

Candidates who miss the oral and listening comprehension examinations with valid reasons, and are unable to sit for the oral examination within the examination window or make-up oral examination, can apply for special consideration, it added.

Common Last Topics (CLT) will also be removed from the upcoming PSLE, in a move to "support the wellbeing of our P6 students, who also have to familiarise themselves with the new PSLE Achievement Level scoring system", said the statement.

This is because a significant proportion of the Primary 6 students are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination due to age, as well as the need for occasional instances of full home-based learning due to the more infectious variants of the COVID-19 virus, it noted.

"After careful consideration of these factors, as well as the fact that younger P6 students may not learn as effectively during home-based learning, the MOE and SEAB will remove the CLT for the 2021 PSLE," said the statement.

The 2021 GCE-level examinations will not be affected as such considerations apply to a significantly lesser extent for older students, with over 90 per cent expected to be fully vaccinated by August.

Safe management measures and exam arrangements will remain similar to those implemented last year for the remaining papers for the 2021 national examinations.

In-person co-curricular activities will also resume from 12 July, the third week of Term 3, for secondary schools, junior colleges or Millennia Institute, aligned with national guidelines. In-person co-curricular activities for primary schools will resume in the fifth week of Term 3.

Since 1 June, over 310,000 eligible students – or around 90 per cent – have registered for their vaccination appointments. About 297,000 would have taken their first dose of the vaccination by Sunday, before school reopens on 28 June.

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