Education Ministry sticks to midterm exam plans despite protests and presidential transition team

Students take the National Coalition’s Academic Ability Assessment Examination at a high school in Suwon, Gyeonggi province on March 24. (Joint Press Body)

The Department of Education will continue to bar students confirmed with COVID-19 from taking upcoming midterm exams, sticking to its original plans despite protests from students and parents.

Students who had been confirmed with COVID-19 amid the pandemic were barred from taking exams at school and received scores based on the average of their past exam records.

For the upcoming midterm exams scheduled for the end of this month, it is likely that a significant number of students will not be able to take the exams in person due to the omicron wave.

The Department of Education said it would re-evaluate its mid-term exams policy after disease control authorities announced plans to help confirmed students sit their mid-term exams. However, the department decided to continue with its exclusion order.

“After collecting feedback from schools, we will stick to banning students with COVID-19 from taking midterm exams, to avoid reverse discrimination for students who had already been banned from taking midterm exams. exams due to COVID-19,” the Ministry of Education announced on Friday.

The ministry added that school facilities are insufficient to allow confirmed and unconfirmed students to take the exams separately.

The transitional presidential committee, which suggested that the Ministry of Education allow senior students to take exams, has publicly expressed regret over the ministry’s latest decision.

“It is time to prepare post-pandemic measures with a view to scientific control and prevention of infectious diseases, but the Ministry of Education citing equity for exclusion is illogical,” Hong Kyung-hee said Monday. , Deputy Committee Spokesperson.

“The ministry’s logic indicates that the ban on senior students from taking exams will continue in the future,” Hong said. “The ministry should come up with a forward-looking policy that does not violate the rights of students who study hard to go to graduate schools.”

Students who cannot attend school to take midterm exams for coronavirus-related reasons will receive scores based on their past performance. Scores will be converted based on the difficulty level of the test and the test score distribution.

The ministry’s decision raises fears that some students may hide their infected status to pass their exams and avoid possible disadvantages.

Meanwhile, one in three students have contracted the virus since the pandemic hit in 2020.

On Friday, 2.07 million or 35.3% of kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school students were confirmed with COVID-19. This is almost six percentage points higher than the rate of confirmed cases in the general population, which stands at 29%.

However, as more students have contracted COVID-19, the number of new confirmed cases among students is declining. Last week, 250,000 students were confirmed, marking a drop of 33 percentage points from the 370,000 cases confirmed the previous week.

Education authorities are working on post-omicron measures. It is likely that self-testing measures for students will soon be discontinued.

By Im Eun-byel ([email protected])

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