SYDNEY — Thousands of southeastern Australian state, New South Wales, students due to begin their Higher Secondary School Certificate trials amid lockdown have been offered reassurance adjustments will be made to ensure they are not disadvantaged.
With Premier Gladys Berejiklian announcing a two-week extension of lockdown until July 30, schools in the state capital, Sydney, and its surroundings will continue with online learning.
As a result, the New South Wales Education Standards Authority said it is reconsidering requirements around some trial exams.
Schools can now postpone trial exams by a few weeks or provide an alternative assessment task suitable to be completed while learning from home, said Paul Martin, chief executive, New South Wales Education Standards Authority.
“Right now, our attention is on plans for the Higher Secondary School Certificate oral language exams on July 31 and dance exams which are due to start on August 2, and we will issue further advice about these exams mid-next week,” he said.
“At this stage, we are planning for the drama, music, and written exams and the marking of major works and projects to go ahead on schedule in a Covid safe way.”
New South Wales Education Standards Authority is also working with New South Wales Health and schools on contingency plans if the Higher Secondary School Certificate exams, which begin in October, have to be canceled.
“I want to say categorically that students will have the opportunity to receive the Higher Secondary School Certificate this year,” said Martin.
“Students should continue to focus on their studies and prioritize looking after their wellbeing.”
Students must learn from home where possible but can attend schools to use specialist equipment to work on major projects or rehearse for performance exams, but must wear a mask.
Those whose ability to work on their major project or performance has been significantly impacted by Covid-19 restrictions will also be eligible to have their work assessed under the Covid illness/misadventure process.
New South Wales recorded 97 new local Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours, and at least 31 of them were circulating in the community during part of all of their infectious period.
Adults (aged 16-65) in Australia show above-average proficiency in literacy and problem-solving in technology-rich environments compared with adults in other countries, as per reports by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
“17 percent of adults in (aged 16-65) attain the two highest levels of proficiency in literacy (Level 4 or 5) significantly higher than the average of 11.8 percent of adults in all participating countries,” states the report.
“13.3 percent of adults in Australia attain Level 4 or 5 in numeracy very similar to the average of 12.4 percent of adults across all participating countries.”
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Saptak Datta)