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Should International IB schools in Thailand be conducting on-site exams at this time?

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A student has sent The Thaiger this email addressing their concerns about the continuation of exams in the current situation. The government have closed down all schools and any further teaching needs to be online. Except, it appears, for some international schools which seem intent on going ahead with on-site exams. What do you think about this person’s letter? The Thaiger has decided to withhold the writer’s name.

Share your thoughts below.

Verbatim…

Dear Sir/ Madam

I’m currently doing my IB Diploma Programme here in Thailand, it is with great concern that I’m writing this email as such a situation has never happened to me before as Thailand is experiencing a third wave more powerful than the previous waves of the current ongoing pandemic.

44 IB Schools in Thailand have transmissions within the communities of every prominent international school in Thailand, a new strain of covid, record-breaking case numbers, a lockdown being passed through today, and then there is the audacity to act as if it is fine to do exams. Compared to the rest of the examinations such as IGCSE, GCSE, CIE etc. Have all been cancelled, but the IB is still reluctant to cancel theirs. Currently, as per the governmental order in Thailand, all schools, malls and social gathering have to be closed for two weeks with also a limitation of up to 50 people in a room like environment.

Having said that most of the international schools are protesting against this idea as they think it’s perfectly fine to continue with examinations, aren’t we humans? Aren’t we individuals that are vulnerable to such a pandemic? In the end, if we end up getting covid it will be blamed as our fault, will our school take responsibility for it? Would the IBDP take responsibility for each and every single person infected with the virus? Or in a worst-case scenario, we won’t be able to sit exams hence it will be postponed, this is such an absurd concept some of us have been selected into universities, where such an option will keep us in a bad position.

I do not understand how even now the IB is not considering the life of students that will be impacted by this decision. You are placing a group of students who have visited numerous locations outside the school environment who may have interacted with different people outside their family, been to covid-risk areas, in a room with the rest of the students. Isn’t the IBDP thinking about the possible transmission through airborne interactions with peers and teachers? Sitting at the same desk the student has interacted with for multiple tests with different people. Life is at stake, please understand the concept that we are students, we are normal people and some of us do not have a strong financial hold so getting such a virus or even an infection puts us in a vulnerable situation with the existing problem.

Thank you for taking your time to read this email. I hope that you understand that cancelling CIE, IGCSE and GCSE have forced multiple concerns to arise, that being said we are also students just like them, and the IB should realize that soon enough so they can make a change, because at the end of the day if one of us gets infected that’s fully impacting us personally, not the schools making us sit exams. Could you please write something on this please as many of us students are affected by this.

Hoping to hear from you soon.

(Writer’s name withheld)

 

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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