KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20  — The 401,105 school candidates of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 examination will be setting many firsts as they put pen to paper in the test that begins nationwide on Monday.

These Form Five students had to go through the longest annual SPM class session – almost 14 months – but with the shortest face-to-face lessons – about four months – because the COVID-19 pandemic shoved them to online learning via applications such as Google Meet, Google Classroom and Skype.

They are also sitting for the examination without having had the opportunity of doing the usual trial exam that would have enabled them to gauge where they stand in terms of their competency in the various subjects.

Not small is the chorus that had called for the SPM 2020 exam to be postponed and neither the call wanting the students to go through with it after having prepared for 26 months (including 12 months in Form Four), with some of them already having attained the age of 18, one year older than is the case usually.

These SPM candidates as well as those for the Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) will be sitting for the examinations at the 3,310 centres in a new normal environment, complete with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The examinations this time vary greatly (from those of the past).

“The SOPs will be tight and very detailed to ensure that our children are able to sit for the examinations in a calm, comfortable and safe environment,” said Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin.

The 48,014 invigilators will make sure the SOPs will be followed to the letter.

All the students will be required to submit a completed health declaration form every day before they enter the examination hall, besides having their body temperature taken and wearing a face mask for the duration of the examination.

Preparations have been made for every candidate to be able to sit for the examination.

Besides the main hall, there are also alternative and special classrooms for candidates who may exhibit COVID-19 symptoms. There are isolation and transit classrooms as well.

In the event that there is a need for the hall to be sanitised, the candidates can be accommodated in spare classrooms to ensure that the examinations proceed uninterrupted.

The annual SPM, SVM and STAM examinations are usually held in November but these 2020 examinations were deferred to January 2021 and then to February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the closure of schools.

The students had to be given time to prepare for the tests.

The school session for 2020 Form Five and Form Six students reopened on Jan 20 this year, a month before the examinations.


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