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Monday, July 4, 2022

High-school leaving exams delayed, other problems tackled

More than two weeks after schools in Slovenia switched to remote learning due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Education Minister Simon Kustec announced secondary school-leaving exams would not be able to be carried out as scheduled.

Although the National Exam Centre has been reluctant to announce any changes in the dates so as to encourage students to take remote learning seriously, Kustec told the public broadcaster late last night that given the epidemic situation it was clear that the first part of the matura exams could not be conducted as planned.

The date for essay writing will probably be moved from early May to 30 May, she said on the late news show Odmevi.

But she stressed that both experts and representatives of students agreed that matura should nevertheless be carried out. “All scenarios we are working on, focus on going through with the exams,” the minister said.

It will not be possible to meet the original deadlines, but the school year for final graders will conclude on 22 May as usual. “The exact dates and deadlines (of the exams) will depend on the coronavirus situation,” Kustec said.

According to her, this means that higher education enrolment deadlines will be adjusted to the changes. If matura exams will be carried out in the spring and autumn as usually, no major changes will be necessary, but if no exams will be able to be carried out in the spring then the enrolment deadlines will need to be extended.

Kustec said the ministry was also preparing various scenarios if this happens. “We’ll find a way that will be acceptable and suitable in this situation,” she said.

The first enrolment deadline for higher education institutions has already been extended from 18 March to 9 April.

Kustec indicated last weekend that the dates for national exams for primary schools might also need to be changed.

She said that the ministry was also working on solutions for other problems students encounter. Students who will not be able to carry out the practical part of their courses will pass if they pass the theoretical part of the course.

Higher education institutions will adjust their requirements and students who will not be able to meet their obligations because of the epidemic will have their status automatically extended for another year.

In research, projects that were due on 31 December will be extended for another year without any cuts to their annual funding, she said.

Kindergartens, which remain closed during the epidemic and can therefore not charge parents for their services, will receive compensation for labour and other costs from the state. The same goes for private kindergartens, which will receive compensation amounting to 85% of what parents pay for a child, Kustec said.

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