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Source: Hong Kong Information Services

The Education Bureau today said a news report alleging that international schools are allowed to flexibly resume classes is misleading, adding that classes of all schools remain suspended until March 16.

In a statement, the bureau said the exact date of class resumption is subject to further assessment.

The bureau explained that due to the novel coronavirus infection, it decided that classes of all schools should remain suspended but keep their premises open and step up cleansing to care for students in need.

For schools offering non-local curriculum, including international schools, most of the international examinations will take place later than the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) Examination.

Hence, the teachings of some courses for graduating classes and coursework for school-based assessments required by these examinations have not yet been completed.

As compared to overseas students sitting for the same public exams, the bureau understands that such a situation would greatly impact Hong Kong students.

In this regard, if schools have put in place all necessary preventive measures and allow parents to decide whether to let their children return, the bureau has no objection for schools to flexibly arrange the graduating students sitting for the imminent international exams to attend tutorial sessions and assessment activities.

Taking into consideration that graduating students of non-local curriculum have to sit for related international exams for further studies or career development, the bureau agreed to allow these schools to serve as testing centres.

However, these schools should make reference to preventive measures to be adopted by the Hong Kong Examinations & Assessment Authority (HKEAA) for this year’s DSE exam.

The bureau trusts that school management, principals and teachers, will make the students’ well-being their prime concern, and strike a balance between students’ needs for further studies and protection from the epidemic.

It emphasised that the above arrangements apply to graduating classes only, and students of other grades should study at home during class suspension.

Secretary for Education Kevin Yeung met representatives of schools offering non-local curriculum yesterday to explain the basic principles and arrangements for class suspension, and responded to their queries and concerns.

For the DSE examination, teaching of relevant courses has been completed. Students have also generally completed the school-based assessment coursework. The HKEAA has a mechanism to handle individual cases of unfinished school-based assessment.

The bureau said it understands that some secondary schools have not conducted mock exams for the DSE examination before classes were suspended, but such exams are not indispensable and there are other feasible alternatives.

Under the current circumstances, it is therefore not appropriate to hold mock exams on school premises. The same principle applies to schools offering non-local curriculum.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News