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Coronavirus: Hong Kong's DSE candidate faces an uphill battle with the risk of examinations delays


Due to the outbreak of coronavirus, Lam Ka-Yi stays at home, revises her custom notes preparing for the coming 2020 HKDSE.

"This year's HKDSE examination is like a disaster," says Lam Ka-Yi, a 2020 HKDSE candidate.  

On February 13, the Education Bureau announced the classes of all schools remained suspended before March 16, and on the same day, the Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority announced the schedule of the 2020 HKDSE still yet confirmed.

The Hong Kong Examinations and Assessment Authority and the Education Bureau will decide the HKDSE schedule in late February. Based on the latest development of infections caused by the coronavirus in the community, they will decide whether the written examinations can be conducted from 27 March as scheduled, or will be postponed to 24 April. 

However, Ms Lam says she's worried that the decision made on a detailed HKDSE schedule will be too late. 

"I'm just hoping the government can confirm an exact date and plan on DSE examinations as soon as possible, as my study plan is now laying behind what I expected because of all the uncertainty on the exam schedule," says Ms Lam.

The portion of Chinese- language speaking examination of the DSE examination scheduled for March 11 to 19 and English-language speaking and written exams conducted between March 27 and May 15 now might be delayed up to four weeks. The HKEAA also announced there is a portion that the written exams postponed with the cancellation of the Chinese- and English-speaking exams 

Facing the situation that the  Chinese and English- language skills examination might be canceled, Ms. Lam thinks the arrangement is vague and disturbs candidates’ confidence dealing with the upcoming exams as the results might be affected once the speaking tests are canceled.

"As a 2020 HKDSE candidate, I feel the urgency to practice my oral skills and do mock paper exercise in this remaining month. However, I'm disappointed that none of the Education Bureau and school made a clear arrangement on this that actually helps examination candidates," Ms Lam says.

Ms Lam worries the risk of examination delays, cancellations of oral tests might affect students’ study plan and even worse, the results.

Since late January, the Education Bureau made the first announcement on all schools extended the Chinese New Year holidays to cope with the increased numbers of suspected and confirmed coronavirus infection cases. Later on, with the increased risk of the virus spreading in the crowded environment, the Education Bureau decided to suspend the classes of all schools and suggested online learning to support student learning at home

Wong Hiu-Wan, who has two daughters studying in secondary school and university, agrees with the government's decision on class suspension and believes this preventive measure is effective to safeguard students’ health.

"Health is the first priority of my children. I think deferring class is the only solution to avoid students joining group activities as well as reduce the risk of the student’s being infected. After experiencing the outbreak of SARS in 2003, the Hong Kong government now seems well-prepared and actively implementing preventive measures and guidelines for schools," says Ms Wong.

Ms Wong daughter's Agnes Lam, who is studying in university, has a different opinion. 

"I only see the Education Bureau keep updating the date on all schools suspension and DSE arrangement without giving a detailed content to explain what is going to happen next." says Ms Agnes Lam.

Ms Lam also questions the effectiveness of the government's "suspending class but not suspending learning" strategy that suggested students use the E-learning platform for self-learning.

She says that there are limitations on eClass, a school online system provides teachers assignments and self-learning resources to students.

"First, there's insufficient online assignments provided for form six students preparing examinations. Second, the self -learning resources, eTV programs are outdated. Third, the live online lesson between teachers and students is a voluntary measure," Ms Lam argues. "There is only one teacher on my form willing to hold live classes for students." 

The tutorial business that used to be a popular method to boost students' DSE grades has also come under attack.

Chan Ka-Hei, a private tutor says that the tutoring market has been negatively affected since the outbreak of the coronavirus. 

"Nearly two-thirds of my students have cut the lessons since the parents want them to stay safe at home. The parents and students now prefer studying materials by themselves until the update situation of coronavirus gets better," Ms Chan sighs.



《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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