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Officials dither over exams amid school closures

2020-02-06 HKT 17:01
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  • Officials dither over exams amid school closures
Education minister Kevin Yeung said on Thursday that the government will make a decision by the end of this month on when this year's Diploma of Secondary Education Examinations (DSEs) should take place, with the city's schools closed until at least March 2 over the coronavirus epidemic.

Yeung said he understands that the exams are important to the 50,000 students due to sit them in the coming weeks, as the results will determine who gets university places, but that "life is more important".

Most of the exams are due to start from March 27.

A small number, including practical tests for Physical Education, Music, and an oral paper for the Chinese language subject were slated to take place before this and these have now been postponed.

"The situation is changing every day. We can’t tell for sure whether we could really do the exams on March 27, that’s why we would make another assessment towards the end of this month," Yeung said at a press conference.

"In any case, there will be around four weeks before the end of March 27, which I think will be sufficient for students to adjust their plans."

Yeung said one option would be to postpone all the exams until late April, while cancelling the oral papers for both Chinese and English.

Joey Chan, who is sitting exams this year, described the authorities' approach to the issue as "quite retarded".

"Future plans, such as my grad trips, would be screwed up. They thought that postponing DSEs would be less dangerous. Indeed, it is not the case. The first and foremost policy [should be] to shut down all the borders," she told RTHK.