Friday 07 May 2021

Clarity on school leaving exams next week, education minister says

There will be more clarity about how this year’s school leaving exams are to be organised next week, education minister Arie Slob has told Radio 1 news, following calls for action from parents and teachers.

Slob said earlier that the exams would go ahead as normal, but the Financieele Dagblad reported on Wednesday that some teachers think up to 40% of pupils may fail because they have lost so many lessons during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a normal year, around 8% of pupils fail their finals.

Ministers confirmed on Tuesday that secondary schools will remain closed until March 2, after the winter half-term holidays. Currently they are open for pupils in their exam years and pupils taking practical subjects.

Despite schools being open for exam year pupils, many have had far fewer lessons than they should have done, the FD points out. Some schools closed earlier because they had a coronavirus outbreak, while others were forced to shut because they did not have proper ventilation systems.

‘We are looking to see if any more needs to be done,’ Slob said. ‘We have to be very pupil focused, otherwise they may run into problems in the future. So we need to decide what is responsible.’

On Thursday Slob said that schools, parents and teachers needed to accept that more of them would have to repeat a school year, or take catch-up courses over the summer.

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