May/June exams cancelled; tuition teachers feel the heat of COVID-19

Azlan Othman

Ensuring the health and well-being of students, teachers and the general public is the top priority of the Ministry of Education (MoE), following the COVID-19 outbreak.

In view of this, the MoE has informed that the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) has decided not to conduct international examinations for May/ June 2020 session.

For Brunei Darussalam, examinations not to be conducted are the Brunei-Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE), Brunei-Cambridge General Certificate of Education (BC GCE) ‘O’, ‘AS’ and ‘A’ Levels, scheduled from April till June 2020.

The MoE is working with CAIE to ensure that the continuity of student learning is not compromised by creating an alternative assessment. The MoE will notify on the next steps and action after discussions with CAIE authorities.

The public can contact the Department of Examinations, MoE at 2380630 (during working hours) and email [email protected] or [email protected] for queries or information.

Meanwhile, tuition teachers in the country are feeling the heat following the suspension of classes amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

This was further aggravated when authorities in the United Kingdom (UK) announced that it will be closing schools indefinitely and cancelling the A-Level and GCSE national exams there, in an effort to curb the virus outbreak on its shores, which has also affected Brunei students’ sitting for the exam.

“We are experiencing possibly 100 per cent forced termination, which will affect hundreds of tuition companies in the country. Operation has to be frozen. It is hard to survive. To add salt to the wound, the landlord has asked for the rental to be settled. We pleaded for a rental discount during this unprecedented event,” said one teacher who rented a unit at a commercial building to run the tuition school.

“Businesses like the food industry can innovate through other marketing strategies, like offering takeaways. But since the major GCE June ‘O’ and ‘A’ level exams have been cancelled, there is no point for e-learning,” she said. “I am hoping that this deadly outbreak will not last long and affect students preparation for another major GCE ‘O’ and ‘A’ Level exams in October and November this year. I have no solid plans for now,” she said.

“Some of the teachers rely on this tuition teaching to support their parents and siblings. I may end up mortgaging my car as a last option to pay the rent,” she said.