All school exams to proceed as planned
By Buddhika Samaraweera
Despite the rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant closure of schools, the Education Ministry has planned to cover the school curriculums to the fullest extent possible and conduct the Grade Five Scholarship examination, and the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level (O/L) and Advanced Level (A/L) examinations on pre-announced dates.
When contacted by The Morning, Education Ministry Secretary Prof. Kapila Perera said that accordingly, the Grade Five Scholarship examination will be held on 3 October, the GCE A/L examination from 4 to 31 October, and the GCE O/L examination at the end of January next year (2022). Prior to that, he said that the Ministry hoped to cover the curriculums as much as possible through online teaching while arrangements will also be made to open schools in several stages.
Meanwhile, when queried as to whether not holding practical tests for the students who sat for the GCE O/L examination last year (2020) would cause a delay in holding this year’s (2021) GCE O/L examination early next year (2022), Prof. Perera said that instead of conducting the practical tests, the Ministry has paid attention to awarding the marks of the practical tests of the relevant subjects during the final term test of Grade 11.
“However, the teachers’ trade unions objected to the move and therefore, a final decision would be taken in the near future following discussions with the relevant parties,” he added. When questioned in this regard about the Ministry’s plan to add marks obtained at term tests instead of conducting practical tests, Ceylon Teachers’ Union Secretary Joseph Stalin told The Morning that as a teachers’ union, they were strongly opposed to it. “It is a very wrong decision. The GCE O/L examination is something that will determine the future of students. We are strongly opposed to taking such irresponsible steps instead of making arrangements for practical tests to be held as soon as possible after the schools reopen,” he said.
The GCE O/L examination 2020 commenced on 1 March 2021 and went on for nine days. Nearly 622,000 candidates were registered to appear for the examination, which was held at a total of 4,513 centres, islandwide.