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Jakarta Post

Indonesia scraps national exams due to COVID-19

  • Ghina Ghaliya
    Ghina Ghaliya

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, March 24, 2020   /   12:08 pm
Indonesia scraps national exams due to COVID-19 Students take the national exam in Makassar, South Sulawesi, on March 16. (Antara/Arnas Padda )

The government and House of Representatives have agreed to cancel the national exam for elementary, junior high and high school students amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Syaiful Huda, chairman of House Commission X overseeing education, told the press on Monday night that the decision was made in a teleconference between the lawmakers and Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim on Monday

"The spread of the COVID-19 is expected to occur until April, so it is impossible for us to force students to gather for the national exam under the threat of the pandemic. Therefore, we agreed that the national exam will not be administered,” the National Awakening Party (PKB) politician said.

The national exam for high school students was supposed to run next week, while junior high and elementary school were scheduled for the end of April.

Syaiful added that there were several options the government and lawmakers were looking at to replace the national exam, one of which was to use assessments based on cumulative grades on report cards from three years of study for high school and junior high students, as well as six years of study for elementary students.

Read also: Some 70,000 Indonesians could be infected with COVID-19 before Ramadan, scientists say

"Later on, the school will calculate the grades considering all aspects on the report cards, including curricular and extracurricular activities," he said.

There is also the option of implementing an online national exam.

“We do not want to gather students in school buildings," he said.

Nadiem previously planned to abolish the national exam and replace it with a very different kind of educational assessment for 2021. However, lawmakers were against the idea.

Nadiem in December 2019 explained that the minimum competency assessment referred to a test that would mainly evaluate students’ literacy and numerical competence.

The number of coronavirus infections nationwide reached 579 as of Monday, with 49 deaths and 30 recoveries.