University students in the dark over alternative exam methods due to COVID-19

Uncertainty over COVID-19 spike leading to anxiety for thousands of students currently preparing for exams • All precautions will be adhered to, ministry says

The KSU has called on educational authorities to ensure alternative examination methods are considered in view of COVID-19 surge
The KSU has called on educational authorities to ensure alternative examination methods are considered in view of COVID-19 surge

Updated at 6:30pm with education ministry comment

University students have been left in the dark over alternative examination methods, the University Students Council (KSU) said.

The students’ union said questions it had sent to the education minister and the public health authorities had been left unanswered. 

The KSU said resits of the January Session at the university and MATSEC exams were happening in person in line with guidelines published by the office of the Superintendent of Public Health.

In a meeting with education minister Owen Bonnici, the KSU said it was not given a benchmark of active cases in the community and R-factor, beyond which extraordinary measures could be considered. 

“This uncertainty is leading to anxiety for thousands of students who are currently preparing for exams that will either determine their progression in their respective courses or their entry into University,” the KSU said.

The KSU wants a reconsideration of the decision of holding exams on campus and to publish an alternative plan for the upcoming MATSEC and September Session examinations. “In this unprecedented and volatile period, constant communication is a pre-requisite to ensure that students’ wellbeing is safeguarded,” the KSU said.

On Monday 10 August, KSU asked the Superintendent of Public Health about the recent public health guidelines’ validity in time for the start of exam sessions.

These guidelines include the maximum indoor capacity of 100 people and an outdoor maximum capacity of 300 people at a particular venue, meaning that exam halls should not house more than 100 students during exam sessions.

All precautions being taken

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the education ministry told MaltaToday that exams will be held as planned and that "all the necessary precautions will be undertaken".

The spokesperson said guidelines published by the health authorities on exams will be adhered to.

No further details were given.

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