Update on Current Examinations Issue

Posted On March 28, 2020

All O’Level and A’Level examinations have been cancelled for the May/June session, the Minister for Education, Owen Bonnici, announced today in a press conference.

Regarding O’Levels, MATSEC will make a predictive assessment on student’s mock examinations. However of which examinations, it is not clear yet. MATSEC is going to grade according to the students’ papers as well as the grading schemes used.

O’Level students has the opportunity to do their O’Level examinations in September if they wish.

Regarding A’Levels, all exams are going to take place in September. The resit session will be held in December.

Timetables for these examinations are going to be sent.

Regarding University students, an email was sent by the Emergency Situation Team by the University of Malta on Thursday evening from the University Senate who had arranged a video call and discussed the current situation. The email stated the following:

The June 2020 Examination Session will not be held in the normal mode requiring students to be physically present on campus.  In spite of this, students should assume that examinations will still be held according to the time-tables that will be published.  However, Faculties/Institutes/Centres/ Schools (FICS) may alter the examination period due to specific requirements of their courses and their assessment requirements.  Examination time-tables shall be published at least one month before the start of the Examination Session.

Students should submit their dissertation by soft copy on VLE so that the assessment process can proceed without delay.  Students will be asked to submit a hard copy at a later stage, possibly the final version of the text and following the required changes to the satisfaction of the examiners. FICS shall decide on extensions of the deadlines for submission of dissertations (both undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate (PG)) where these are deemed to be necessary and justified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where viva voce examinations are part of the method of assessment, in the case of UG programmes, this requirement can be waived if Faculty Board so decides. In the case of doctoral theses and master by research dissertations, the viva voce examinations shall be held virtually.

Extension of deadlines for dissertations/theses shall be approved over and above those permitted by regulations due to problems caused by COVID-19 pandemic.

Regarding Clinicals and Practicals, the Rector will be asking the Superintendent of Public Health whether it is possible to allow a very limited number of students who need to work in laboratories to continue with their research, with health and safety conditions being respected at all times.  Students shall be informed of the outcome as soon as practicable.

Some clinical placements at Mater Dei Hospital are currently ongoing but not for all students.   The suspended placements will be performed when the situation in the hospital permits. Clinical examinations will be scheduled as soon as possible following completion of the placements and will be dependent on the availability of the clinicians who need to act as examiners.  Alternative venues for the clinical examinations shall be identified away from Mater Dei Hospital. It is recognised that for the dental and health care professions, the assessment of clinical skills relies on continuous assessment during the placement session itself.  For continuing students, it may be necessary to delay placements to the next year of the course programme.

Teaching Practice:  The Faculty of Education is exploring ways whereby students can deliver lessons online; if no solution is found, Teaching Practice would have to be postponed to a time when schools re-open.

Re-sits are to be held no earlier than 8 weeks after the first sitting of the relevant examinations. The examination format in a re-sit will be the same as for the first sit.

Students will be allowed to progress to the next year of their studies even if they have failed more than 12 ECTS credits due to problems and difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic – this limit shall be established by Boards of FICS, acting on the advice of Boards of Study.

Every effort shall be made so that final year students will be able to complete their studies within the usual time-frame and, if this is not feasible, as early thereafter as possible.

Further notice is to be given to University students regarding the form of assessment that is to be decided on for their study units.

Written by Corrine Zahra

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