Students just want SPM to be over and done with

PETALING JAYA: Students sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) examinations are trying to make the best of a bad situation, now that the exams are finally underway.

Postponed twice due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the exams finally got underway with a total of 401,105 Form Five students from the class of 2020 sitting for tests across 3,310 centres nationwide.

Lee Jehn Shen, a student from SMK Bandar Puchong Jaya (A), admitted that preparations have been “pretty challenging” considering the fact that schools were closed for most of last year.

“I wasn’t sure how hard the exams would be … (but) I feel I am relatively better prepared for the exams than my friends, and I’m confident I will pass,” he said.

SPM students returned to school on Jan 20 for some vital face-to-face interaction with teachers and last-minute preparations for their examinations after months of studying online.

While many students had previously voiced difficulties they faced with online learning, which they said left them underprepared for the SPM, Muhamad Danish Mohamad Nasir said the past month has helped him make up for lost time.

“Our preparations were affected since we could not go to school for months,” he said. “I was quite nervous heading into the exams and would pray every morning before going to school.

“But since classes resumed, we were able to catch up on the lessons we missed … and everything was all right today.”

Kapilan Rajasegaran, another SMK Bandar Puchong Jaya (A) student, also said he was badly affected by the gap in their school year.

He said the return to school last month “didn’t help too much” but he was grateful to have been able to use the time revising with teachers.

Shahazim from SMK Taman Tun Dr. Ismail said the education ministry’s decision to reopen schools was a relief for many as the students had faced many challenges with online learning.

Despite the abundance of online classes and learning material on the internet, he said he still felt unprepared.

“The school reopening was very helpful for the students. It helped us to complete the syllabus before sitting for the examination,” he said.

“Without the last-minute physical classes, I doubt we could have finished on time.”

Another student, Nurul Amani, lauded the school’s efforts to help the students prepare for the examination. Besides online classes, the teachers provided learning modules for the students which parents or guardians had to pick up via a drive-thru.

Asked whether this was the right time to hold the examination or if the students should have been given more time to prepare, Amani said the examination should not be postponed any longer.

Students observing basic SOPs such as wearing face mask and maintaining physical distancing at SMK Damansara Utama today.

“We have been waiting since November last year and now it is already February,” she said. “The longer we wait, the less motivated we become. Besides, we have to think about our plans for tertiary education as well.”

That view was shared by Nor Azlin, a parent who said she was unsure if her daughter had had enough preparations ahead of the examination.

“I’m worried if she needs more time to study,” she said. “However, I don’t think it would be a good idea to keep postponing the examination.”

Meanwhile, at SMK Damansara Utama, a girl who wanted to be known as Atikah said online learning provided by schools was insufficient for those taking the SPM – adding that she relied mostly on online tuition classes provided by private tutors.

“The paper just now was all right and I think it’s good that we are sitting for the exams now,” she said.

Another student, Moh Jing Yi, said the Bahasa Melayu papers went smoother than expected but noted that many of his friends generally felt ill-prepared.

When asked if he would have preferred having more time to study, he said: “Yes, obviously, who wouldn’t?”

Speaking on the Covid-19 standard operating procedures for public examinations, he added that needing to keep the masks on throughout the exam was uncomfortable.

“But mostly, I think the main complaint is the time – we didn’t have enough time to prepare. Although they keep saying we had more than enough time, online studying doesn’t really work that much,” he said.

He also said most of his friends relied heavily on private tuition teachers who offered online classes.

“I just want SPM to be over,” said his friend.

Smooth start to SPM 2020 amid tight SOPs

An SPM candidate about to sit for the Bahasa Melayu Paper 1 at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Indera Mahkota Dua in Kuantan, February 22, 2021. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR— The 401,105 candidates sitting for the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 will go down in history as the first batch of fifth formers to sit for the much-delayed public examination in the new norm, as the country was laid low by the coronavirus pandemic.

The examination conducted with strict adherence to standard operating procedures (SOPs) kicked off with Bahasa Melayu Paper 1 and 2 at 8am and 2pm respectively today, with 8.014 invigilators deployed to maintain proper conduct of examination sessions including full compliance of the SOPs.

Besides having to go through the longest annual SPM class session for almost 14 months, this batch of SPM candidates had been forced to switch to online learning via applications such as Google Meet, Google Classroom and Skype.

These SPM candidates as well as those sitting for the Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) being conducted at the 3,310 centres in a new normal environment are required to submit a completed health declaration form every day before they enter the examination hall.

In Selangor, Deputy Education Minister Muslimin Yahaya was satisfied with the SOP compliance at Yoke Kuan National Type Secondary School (SMK), Sekinchan, when he was there to monitor the situation.

He said for this year’s SPM, the school has also provided preparation, isolation and quarantine rooms for students’ convenience.

In Negri Sembilan, 16,554 students are sitting for the examination at 151 centres and during a visit to SMK Senawang, twins Suhaila Md Zahar and Suhaili Md Zahar, 17, who stood out among the crowd said, though they were all nerves, this would not stop them from doing their best as they aspire to be among the outstanding performers this year.

In Melaka, 13,464 candidates will sit for the examination at 102 examination centres across the state.

IN Johor Baru, 175 SMK Perempuan Sultan Ibrahim (SIGS) students are among the 49,472 candidates taking the examination at 366 centres in Johor.

Kumpulan Penggerak Ibu bapa, Komuniti dan Swasta (KPIKS) chairman Datuk Yahya Jaafar when met at SIGS said, he was pleased with the detailed preparations made and was confident the examination would run smoothly at the school.

In George Town, 19,919 students including private candidates have registered for the examination being conducted at 151 centres in Penang.

In Terengganu, State Education Department director Salim Ab Ghani said 18,743 candidates are sitting for the examination and 1,427 invigilators have been deployed at the 169 centres.

In Perak, 33,075 candidates are sitting for the examination at 327 centres and a check at SMK Anderson, Ipoh, saw several parents dropping off their children, while the students looked excited and eager to enter the school grounds.

In Kelantan, the pandemic disruption to learning has not dampened the spirit of the 27,719 SPM candidates as most appeared happy and enthusiastic as they came to sit for their papers at the 285 centres statewide.

In Pahang, 20,765 students including 672 private candidates are sitting for the examination at the state’s 226 centres.

Meanwhile, in Kedah, the SPM examination kicked off smoothly as 29,936 candidates sat for the first subject paper at 263 centres in the state.

In Perlis, education exco Rozieana Ahmad expressed hope that the 3,974 candidates in the state would be in high spirits as they sit for the examination in strict adherence to the SOPs.

In Putrajaya, 1,616 SPM students along with 110 private candidates are sitting for the examination at 11 schools in the Federal Territory. Several teachers and police personnel were seen montoring students as they entered the schools to ensure compliance with SOPs.

In Labuan 1, 227 students including 140 private candidates registered at the 14 examination centres to sit for their first paper today.

Meanwhile, Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin in a post on his official Facebook page said, he was at SMK Saujana Impian in Kajang with Education Ministry’s Examination Syndicate  director, Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali this morning, to monitor the school and students’ SOP compliance.

Everything was done in an orderly manner and the examination went on smoothly, he said.

“Today is the first day of the SPM and SVM examinations, in which the candidates will sit for Bahasa Melayu Paper 1. The examination this year is very different from previous years.

“To all sitting for the SPM and SVM 2020 examinations I wish you all the best. My thoughts and prayers are with you,” he said. — Bernama