Singapore

Contrasting emotions over cancelled exams, end to HBL

When her mother told her that exams were cancelled and she would return to school next Monday, Nanyang Primary School pupil Janelle Ang screamed and jumped for joy.

After two weeks of virtual lessons, eight-year-old Janelle, who is in Primary 3, is ready to see her friends and teachers again.

Her mother, Mrs Jamie Ang, 41, a regional marketing director, said: "I think she is about to do cartwheels."

She added that the family is grateful that Janelle's exams got cancelled because studies were disrupted during home-based learning (HBL), and they did not know what to expect for the exams.

Mrs Ang said: "Nothing beats face-to-face lessons."

Yesterday, the Education Ministry said home-based learning would end today for Primary 3 to Primary 6 pupils. Primary 1 and Primary 2 pupils will continue to do HBL until next Tuesday.

Some parents had mixed feelings about the news.

One of them was pilot Nicholas Ng, 47, who has twin sons in Primary 3 in Temasek Primary School. The boys were slated to sit their first paper in the year-end exams next Tuesday.

Mr Ng said: "For the past week, they have been doing their worksheets and preparing for their exams... It feels like their effort has been wasted."

Even so, Mr Ng said he was mostly supportive of his children returning to school.

Some parents were concerned about the risk of school-based transmission because of rising Covid-19 infections among those younger than 12 - especially since they are not eligible for vaccination.

Bank teller Siti Hawa Mohd Najib, 40, said she was worried her daughter Athirah Firzana, 10, might contract Covid-19 in school.

Athirah is a Primary 4 pupil at De La Salle School and has an older sister aged 15. She has two other sisters - a two-month-old infant and a 12-year-old - both of whom contracted Covid-19 but have recovered, just like their mother.

Ms Hawa said her husband is still under home recovery.

"I am quite paranoid because of the traumatic experience we just went through. Daily Covid-19 cases are still rising, which is quite scary, so I don't think going back to school is a good idea."

As for the exams, Ms Hawa is glad they have been cancelled: "Primary 4 is the streaming year and Athirah was quite stressed because she didn't want to do badly. I am glad she is not under any stress now."

Education