Coronavirus: International Baccalaureate cancels May exams

Pupils will get official documents that can be used for university admissions

IB pupils in the UAE cheer as results were announced last year. This year’s exams have been cancelled. The National
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International Baccalaureate has cancelled exams due to be held in May 2020 to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The programme is taught in 5,263 schools in 158 countries. In Dubai alone, more than 18,000 pupils follow the IB curriculum.

“The May 2020 examinations as scheduled between April 30 and May 22 for diploma programme and career-related programme candidates will no longer be held,” International Baccalaureate, the Geneva-based foundation that runs the eponymous programme, said on Monday.

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

“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 pupils and teachers, and fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing.”

Pupils’ performance in coursework for the programme will be examined.

“The IB have announced that they are following the lead of other examination bodies and that the summer 2020 examinations are now cancelled,” said Gavin Walford Wright, chief marketing officer at Taaleem, a school operator in the UAE.

“This was not unexpected news for our schools. We had contingency plans in place to mitigate the challenges of this announcement.

“Our IB pupils will continue to work with their teachers to ensure their assessments truly reflect their performances in their IB study components. These assessments will be used and moderated by the IB to award final examination grades.”

The IB will shortly announce how it will provide pupils with official documents that can be used for university admissions.

“We will work closely with our pupils, many of whom have received offers from colleges and universities, to ensure that they will be able to successfully follow the next planned pathway in their educational journey,” Mr Wright said.

More than 100 pupils at Aldar schools were due to sit for IB exams in May.

“I think all parents and pupils are anxious at this time. The exams will no longer take place but the IB will use teacher assessment based on internal work done to date, and pupils will get grades reflecting the work they have put in,” said Stephen Sharples, director of Education at Aldar Education.

"Our advice to pupils is to continue studying. We are delivering lessons until we have established how the grading will work.”

He said pupils who have received conditional offers from universities are likely to receive their certificates from IB.

The grades would be based on internal exams taken at school and may differ from their predicted scores.