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The government and House of Representative (DPR) of Indonesia have agreed that the implementation of the National Exam (UN) will be cancelled in order to protect students from the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Tuesday (24 March), the Chairman of House Commission, Syaiful Huda said, “From the meeting result of the House of Representative and Ministry of Education and Culture, it is agreed that the implementation of the junior and senior high school exams is canceled, to protect students from COVID-19.”

The agreement was based on the increasingly massive spread of COVID-19. The national exam for high schools was supposed to be on 30 March, while junior high school and elementary school were scheduled for exams at the end of April.

Mr Syaiful added, “The spread of the COVID-19 outbreak is predicted to continue until April, so it is impossible for us to force students to gather for the national exam under the threat of the pandemic COVID-19. Therefore, we agreed that the National Exam will not be administered.”

To substitute the national exam, the government and lawmakers were discussing some options. One of them was using assessments in accordance with cumulative grades on report cards from three years of study for senior and junior high school students, and six years of study for those in elementary school.

Mr Syaiful remarked, “Later on, the school will calculate the grades considering all aspects on the report cards, including curricular and extracurricular activities.

Another option of implementing the national exam is an online national exam. He noted, “We do not want to gather students in school buildings.”

According to Nadiem Makarim, Indonesia’s Minister of Education, the government previously planned to rescind the national exam and replace it with a different kind of educational assessment for 2021. However, lawmakers were against the idea.

Mr Nadiem, in December 2019, explained that the minimum competency assessment referred to a test would mainly evaluate students’ literacy and numerical competence.

As of 23 March, the number of COVID-19 cases in Indonesia reached 579, with 49 deaths and 30 recoveries.

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