BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – The IGCSE, O, AS and A Level examinations for the May/June session will take place in person this year, the education minister confirmed on Thursday.

Speaking at the daily COVID-19 press conference, YB Dato Hj Hamzah Hj Sulaiman said discussions were held with key stakeholders, including the Cambridge Assessment for International Education, to find a suitable way to conduct the exams.

Taking into account the high percentage of vaccination among the Brunei population — and among exam candidates in particular — as well as with the strict preparation of Standard Operating Procedures … Cambridge has agreed for the Ministry of Education to conduct the examinations face-to-face”.

Last year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, written papers for IGCSE, O and A Level examinations were replaced with school-assessed grades, where teachers would determine students’ final grade based on a portfolio of work.

YB Dato Hj Hamzah said the national COVID-19 Steering Committee has also given the green light for the Brunei-Cambridge GCE O, AS, A Level and IGCSE examinations to be held in person.

Only students with green or yellow BruHealth codes, as well as students with red codes who do not present any COVID symptoms, will be allowed to take the exams. All candidates will be required to take an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) before attending their examination.

Students who test for COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend, nor will they be allowed to sit for the examination separately, as per the rules in the Cambridge Handbook.

Candidates who are unable to attend their exams due to an illness will still be able to obtain a grade based on the remaining weighted components of their syllabus.

Online learning extended for two more weeks

Home-based learning will continue until April 2 for kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, sixth form centres, and religious schools, the government announced Thursday.

In-person learning was suspended on March 7 after a surge in COVID-19 cases caused attendance numbers to drop.

On Thursday, Brunei recorded 1,666 new COVID cases, the first time in over a month the daily caseload dipped below 2,000.