Nation-wide primary school exams have been cancelled due to the coronavirus situation, the Education Ministry announced on Friday. This is the first time the exams for sixth and ninth grade students have be cancelled since their introduction 20 years ago. Headteachers have welcomed the decision.
The decision not to hold the exams as schools are closed and children learning at home was taken on the basis of an assessment made by key education stakeholders, Minister of Education, Science and Sport Simona Kustec said in a release.
Nevertheless, the nation-wide tests will be made available online for teachers and students to reinforce what students have already learned.
Sixth graders take exams in mathematics and Slovenian (Italian and Hungarian for minority members in bilingual areas) as well as in a foreign language, which is English or German. Ninth graders also take the exams in maths and mother-tongue plus in a third subject which varies.
The exams, which are not compulsory, are taken in early May. This year’s exams for third garde students, which were introduced in the 2017/2018 year, were cancelled already last month.
A decision to hold Matura – the school-leaving exam for secondary school students – has already been taken recently. But Kustec said in an interview for the newspaper Dnevnik, which will be fully run on Saturday, that it will be held in a somewhat changed format.
Students will write the Slovenian language essay on 1 June instead of 5 May, which is a major difference from the standard schedule.
Just like every year, however, secondary school students in their last year will end school on 22 May and all the others on 24 June.
The minister, however, was unable to say earlier this week when kindergartens and schools could reopen, stressing it would depend on an expert assessment that this could be done safely.
The government has already started to relax some of the restrictions imposed after the epidemic was declared on 12 March, but schools are very unlikely to reopen soon.
In his first reaction to the news, the head of the Association of Primary and Music School Headteachers, Gregor Pečan, said that while schools were yet to be formally notified of the decision, which he expects today, he is “grateful that common sense has prevailed”.
“I absolutely agree the primary school national exams are cancelled, because it would be impossible to provide for credible exams in this situation,” he said in a statement for the STA, adding it would make no sense to hold them for their own sake.