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IB May 2020 exams will no longer be held

The International Baccalaureate exams set for May have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, impacting the plans of more than 200,000 students around the world.

The two-year IB diploma program, aimed at pupils aged between 16 and 19. Photo: Pexels

As of March 2020, there were 6,966 IB programs being offered worldwide

In a letter to sent schools and examiners on March 22, the IB said the examinations, which were originally scheduled for between April 30 and May 22 for diploma program and career-related program students, would no longer be held.

“The IB with considerable advisement from stakeholders… has determined the most responsible and ethical way forward”

The two-year IB diploma program, aimed at pupils aged between 16 and 19, provides an internationally accredited qualification for entrance into higher education institutions.

According to the organisation’s website, as of March 2020, there were 6,966 programs being offered worldwide, across 5,263 schools in 158 countries.

“Our students, their well-being and their progression in future stages of life have been at the forefront of our thinking as we respond to this extraordinary pandemic,” a statement on the website explained.

“As an organisation, it is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our global community of IB World schools are based on compassion for our students and teachers and, fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing,” the statement read.

“We are grateful for your patience and consideration. As a result, the IB with considerable advisement from stakeholders across the globe including schools, students, universities and official bodies has determined the most responsible and ethical way forward.”

In a list of FAQs, the IB said that moving the date wasn’t an option as creating examinations for over 200,000 global students each year takes a considerable amount of work, with the work beginning at least 18 months before the date that students will finally sit the exam paper.

“Behind this process, there is also a large infrastructure of printing, posting and scanning the papers. These companies carefully schedule their work to ensure they can support multiple assessment bodies across the world throughout the year.

“If we moved the examination session these companies may not be able to support the IB,” the organisation explained.

In addition, it said the COVID-19 outbreak is affecting different parts of the world at different times and is a rapidly evolving situation.

“Currently, there are schools globally who are not affected and whose students are preparing to take their examinations in May, while for other schools, it is not yet certain that they will be open for the exams.

“Even if we were able to move the examination session, we may find the same problem as now, with some schools able to sit the exams and others not.”

“The student will be awarded a diploma or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work”

Information about the Middle Years Program eAssessment examinations due to be held May 11-22 will be provided next week, the statement explained.

“Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a diploma or a course certificate which reflects their standard of work.

“This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigour and quality control already built into the programs,” the statement concluded.

Full details will be sent to schools by March 27.

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