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Maltese Fifth Former Calls For O Levels To Be Cancelled And Students To Be Graded Based On Academic Performance

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Students are calling for the postponement of MATSEC examinations amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

Cara Borg Aquilina, a 15-year-old student set to sit for her O Levels this year, penned an open letter of proposals to Minister for Education Owen Bonnici, expressing the collective concerns of students affected by the current situation.

“With examinations scheduled to commence in around a month’s time, students demand that action be taken to resolve the problem at hand and give students the security which they lack at the time being,” she said.

The letter calls for the adaptation of the UK system, which would see students whose exams have been cancelled due to the spread of COVID-19, receive grades based on their holistic and academic performance instead of final exams.

In its own preventative measure against the virus, Malta’s government had announced the closure of all educational establishments on March 12th, forcing students to continue their studies online. 

Borg Aquilina also dismisses the idea of holding the exams in summer, seeing as it would be too hot for students to concentrate and many schools lack cooling systems.

“If O- levels were to be postponed to summer, I’d be speaking on behalf of many Maltese students by stating that it would certainly be uncomfortable and difficult to focus in such heat, as not all schools have air conditioning facilities, also bearing in mind the discomfort it would impose on invigilators and those correcting the papers” she stressed.

First session exams cannot be held in September either, she argues, as those who fail would not have time to re-sit and examiners would not have time to correct in time for the scholastic year, stripping students of their two chances. 

However, those who are not satisfied with the holistic marks received would be able to re-sit in September. 

The proposals also take into consideration different circumstances that students may face in light of exams being cancelled, from absence of mock examinations to private candidates. They hope that the government takes responsive action immediately, as students have not been informed on what measures will be taken.

“Unfortunate circumstances may cause one to crack under pressure, causing poor performance. Hence, in such high-intensity times that we are living in; it would surely facilitate and ease concerns of students, parents/guardians and educators by taking these necessary measures.”

The proposals have been sent to Owen Bonnici, but no measures have been taken so far.

What do you think of the students’ proposals?

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