SINGAPORE: About 297,000 students in Singapore would have taken their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine before schools reopen on Jun 28, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Wednesday (Jun 23).
This represents around 96 per cent of the more than 310,000 eligible students who have registered for vaccination appointments since Jun 1, the ministry said in a joint press release with the Singapore Examinations and Assessment Board (SEAB).
MOE and SEAB also outlined details of its safe management measures for PSLE and GCE oral examinations.
MASKS MANDATORY FOR ORAL EXAMINATIONS
To minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission, all candidates and oral examiners will be required to wear surgical masks.
"As facial expressions will not be taken into consideration for the assessment, candidates will not be disadvantaged by the wearing of surgical masks during oral examinations," MOE and SEAB said.
Before the start of the oral examination, examiners will ask candidates to state their name and school loudly, in order to ensure they can hear each other clearly.
Candidates and examiners can also ask each other to speak louder or repeat their questions. A placard reminding candidates of this will also be placed in front of them. They will not be penalised for making such requests.
Examiners will also take mask-wearing into consideration when assessing candidates, said MOE and SEAB.
READ: Teachers contacting parents and students who have not responded to COVID-19 vaccination invite: MOE
READ: Lower primary, lower secondary students to continue with home-based learning after June holidays
Other safe management measures will also continue to be in place, including temperature and symptom screening, staggered dismissal of candidates, frequent cleaning of high touch surfaces and using well-ventilated venues such as halls and classrooms for examinations.
Candidates will not be allowed to sit for oral and listening comprehension examinations if they have COVID-19, are on quarantine order or a stay-home notice or have been issued with a leave of absence.
Those on medical leave due to acute respiratory infection or are on approved absence will also be barred from attending the examinations.
As oral examinations are conducted over several days, those who miss their assigned date with valid reasons can take the examination on another date within the window or sit for a make-up oral examination, said MOE and SEAB.
Candidates who are unable to take up either option can apply for special consideration - a procedure that awards candidates with projected grades obtained through considering their performance in other papers for a subject in national and school-based examinations.
Special consideration will also take into account the school cohort's performance. All applications are "assessed on a case-by-case basis and subjected to a rigorous review process".
REMOVAL OF COMMON LAST TOPICS FOR PSLE
Common Last Topics (CLT), which were removed from the national examinations for graduating cohorts due to the impact of last year's "circuit breaker" period on curriculum time, will continue to be excluded for PSLE examinations in 2021.
CLTs are a set of topics identified from subject syllabuses by the Education Ministry to be taught last by all schools for graduating cohorts.
MOE and SEAB said that schools were able to draw on their three-and-a-half week experience of home-based learning (HBL) in 2020, allowing them to carry out seven days of full HBL "smoothly" from May 19 to May 28.
They are expected to be able to cover the examinable curriculum "in good time" for national examinations in 2021, said the two bodies.
"However, Primary 6 students may encounter additional disruptions to their learning compared to other graduating cohorts as a significant proportion of our P6 students are still not eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination due to age," MOE and SEAB said.
With the rise of more infectious variants of COVID-19, the need for occasional instances of full HBL in primary schools "cannot be ruled out".
The fact that younger Primary 6 students may not learn as effectively during HBL was also taken into consideration, said MOE and SEAB.
The CLTs that will be removed in this year's PSLE are as follows:
"This move aims to support the wellbeing of our P6 students, who also have to familiarise themselves with the new PSLE Achievement Level scoring system," said MOE and SEAB.
READ: More than 400,000 students aged 12 and above to receive COVID-19 vaccination invite from Jun 1
RESUMPTION OF CCAs PUSHED BACK
The resumption of in-person Co-Curricular Activities (CCA) will be pushed back by at least a week, MOE and SEAB said.
MOE earlier announced that following students' return to schools from Jun 28, CCAs would resume from the second week of Term 3.
In line with the national posture on the evolving COVID-19 situation, CCAs in secondary schools, junior colleges and Millennia Institute will resume on Jul 12, the third week of Term 3.
In-person CCAs will resume for primary schools in the fifth week of Term 3.
MOE and SEAB said that they will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates if there are further changes to the arrangements for this year’s national examinations and school activities.
"We hope that these measures will give our students and their parents greater peace of mind," said Education Minister Chan Chun Sing in a Facebook post.