Updated 12.20pm

Schools will remain closed until the end of June and next month's SEC examinations will not be held, Education Minister Owen Bonnici said on Saturday. 

Students who were due to sit for Ordinary level exams will instead be assessed by the MATSEC board based on their mock examination results, or else be given the choice to sit for their exams during a September examination session.

All students sitting for Intermediate or Advanced level examinations will sit for their exams during that September session.

A resit examination session, originally scheduled for September, will instead be held in December. Students who need to resit exams will be allowed to begin the next academic year, pending their exam results.

The MATSEC board, which has been tasked with assessing students who were due to sit for their O Level examinations next month, will use students' mock examination performance to assign two predictive grades. Level three will equate to grades one through five, while level two will equate to grades six or seven. 

O Level students aiming for a specific grade will be able to sit for their exams in September, with their MATSEC board predictive assessment in hand.  

"We wanted to ensure fairness and make sure students are not the ones to suffer," Bonnici said as he announced the decision.

The minister said students in years 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be automatically moved up to the next scholastic year. 

The year 6 benchmark exercise will not be carried out this year, Bonnici said.

University of Malta exams, normally held in June, will go ahead as planned but will be held online.

Rector Alfred Vella said exams would be tailored to that format, with the possibility of multiple-choice questions being evaluated.

Schools and university were originally ordered shut earlier this month as part of restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The shutdown, originally due to expire in mid-April, has now been extended to the end of the academic year. 

Other measures:

  • As well as primary school students who were meant to sit for an annual exam (year 4 upwards), those from kindergarten to year 3 will be promoted to next grade come September.

  • In the case of schools for which no mock exams had been held prior to the closure of schools, talks will be held with the Matsec board to find a solution.

  • Those candidates who were planning to sit for their O level individually, like mature students, they will have an option to sit for the September session.

  • First year sixth form students and in higher secondary would be evaluated on the basis of the assessment so far and possibly assignments which might be given in due course. This also applied for MCAST, but if this involved practical sessions, these would be held in September. 

  • A recently-established task force comprising stakeholders from private, church and State schools is expected to come up with recommendations on how to cover educational content which students missed out due to the premature closure of schools. This is being done to ease the load on teachers and students in the next scholastic year.

Parents or students with questions about the revised system can contact the education helpline 25981000.

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