"After our deliberation and discussion with the president and other instances, we have decided to revoke the 2020 national exams," Minister of Education and Culture Nadiem Makarim stated after a videoconference meeting, led by President Joko Widodo, on the 2020 National Examinations Policy in Jakarta, Tuesday.
The decision to revoke the 2020 national exams was taken following deliberations concerning several factors, including the health and safety aspect of the students.
Makarim pointed to the risk being posed to the health of students participating in national exams at their designated venues.
"The risk looms large not only for the students themselves but also their families and grandparents. The number of students scheduled to take the national exams is quite significant, reaching eight million," he noted.
Hence, he stressed that the safety and health of students and their families were of paramount importance, and to this end, the 2020 national examinations had been cancelled.
"We are also already aware that the exams are not a requisite for graduation or higher education selection requirements. I think at the ministry, the risks outweigh the benefits to proceeding with the exams," he noted.
This means that schools can still hold their own exams, but no tests should be held that involve students gathering in classrooms.
"School tests can be administered through several options, with online being one example. Schools can also determine the students' scores from the five semesters. We are not compelling schools to measure curriculum achievements. There are several online schools that have yet to be optimal, but we do not compel them to measure the achievements disrupted by COVID-19," he expounded.
President Widodo had earlier stated during the meeting that the policy on the 2020 national exams should not impinge upon the rights of the 8.3 million students scheduled to take the test at the end of March and into April.
At the start of the meeting, he stated that the students are currently affected by the spread of COVID-19 and are studying from home owing to the circumstances. "The main principle is that the policy we decide on should not impinge upon the rights of 8.3 million students scheduled to take the exams," he reiterated.
National exams for high school students is scheduled to take place from March 30 to April 2, while the government-issued tests for students of middle-school level are scheduled for April 20-23.
Moreover, Chief of the House of Representatives' Commission X Syaiful Huda had inquired for the government to cancel the national exams for both levels altogether to protect students from the spread of COVID-19.
"This decision is taken after taking into account the plague that has continued to spread. Hundreds of thousands and also millions of students are at risk if the national exams continue to be held," he remarked in Jakarta on Monday, March 23.
Related news: SOE Ministry to dispatch COVID-19 lab equipment to 10 provinces
Related news: COVID-19 crisis prompts temporary closures of 17 hotels in Bogor