These are testing times for Ms Lina Sugianto’s twin son and daughter, who are sitting the A levels at the end of the year. The 18-year-olds have been anxious every time they hear of a confirmed Covid-19 case in their schools as they do not want to be quarantined.
The Ministry of Education’s (MOE) announcement on Sunday (Sept 26) that students in quarantine may be able to take the national exams this year – though subject to strict criteria – is a relief to her family, said Ms Sugianto, 49, a finance director.
The son, who is in Raffles Institution, and daughter in National Junior College have been preparing intensely for the exams, and are not that worried about getting Covid-19.
Instead, they are more concerned about missing the biggest tests of their lives so far, said Ms Sugianto.
She added: “I would feel pity for the students if they are unable to sit exams just because they are in quarantine, considering the effort they are putting in.”
Other parents welcome the MOE move as well. Housewife Tammie Wong, 42, whose daughter is taking the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), said it ensures that those in quarantine are not penalised.
Ms Wong said the rising number of cases in the community remains a concern to parents. “In retrospect, the opening up (of the Covid-19 curbs) could have been done more gradually with the perspective that this is the period for national exams,” she added.
She said there is a concern that her daughter – in CHIJ St Nicholas Girls School (Primary) – might not be able to sit the exams.
“Using the preliminary exams score may be a disadvantage to some students if their school prelim papers were more difficult than the PSLE papers,” she added.
Ms Priscilla Kuan, 46, who works in lab administration, said her 16-year-old daughter, who will be sitting the O levels, has been facing extra stress. There had been students in neighbouring classes who got Covid-19 or were quarantined.
“With this move, she feels better but she still worries about family members testing positive,” said Ms Kuan.
Should her daughter, who is a student in Kranji Secondary School, miss a paper, she is worried about the use of her preliminary results and cohort position within the school for projected grades.
“She thinks it’s unfair as school prelim papers are harder and the whole cohort in her school doesn’t represent the whole nation,” said Ms Kuan.
Parental support is key right now, she added: “I am trying to assure her that it’s okay, it’s just an exam, another milestone to go through, as long as she tries her best it’s fine.”