BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The Ministry of Health said it is still in discussions with the education ministry (MoE) over the best solution for end-of-year examinations, as schools remain closed due to the partial lockdown.

Health minister YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham said several options have been discussed with MoE, including implementing strict safety protocols if they decide to conduct exams in person.

Conducting online exams, or using school-assessed grades, were other options discussed.

“This is not just a matter involving the two ministries … but also with the relevant international examination body as it depends on their approval,” said YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Isham.

“MoE and the examination body are discussing the options … But it is better for MoE to provide further clarification on any decisions made,” he added.

In August, the Ministry of Education announced that Primary School Assessment exams would be deferred from October 14 to November 16; while IGCSE, O and A Level exams were still under discussion with examination body, Cambridge International.

IGCSE, O and A Level exams are crucial for students’ entry into college and higher education.

MoE has yet to make a formal announcement on arrangements for these exams, scheduled to begin on October 1, causing considerable consternation among students.

Schools in the UK have used school-assessed grades for the past two years in lieu of in-person exams due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In this scenario, subject teachers identify a portfolio of three substantial pieces of work from each student in order to determine a final grade. These could include mock exams, coursework and in-class assessments.

The grades are then submitted to Cambridge International, who will carry out external quality assurance checks on grades.

The system has not been without controversy in the UK, with researchers finding it benefited wealthier students from graduate households.