KUALA LUMPUR: The Sijil Pelajaran Malay-sia (SPM) 2020 for 401,105 candidates starts today, the first major exam held during a pandemic.
Unlike previous years when candidates entered the examination hall armed with just their stationery, candidates this year are required to wear face masks and use hand sanitiser to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
To ensure students are in a safe environment during the examination, final preparations, including disinfection, were carried out yesterday at the 3,310 examination centres nationwide, in accordance with the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council and the Health Ministry.
In Johor, state Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Yahaya Madis said the 288 secondary schools involved in the examination had been sanitised and the areas included the school hall, classrooms and quarantine rooms.
He said the sanitation process was implemented just once during the examination, but should a Covid-19 case be reported, another round of sanitisation would be conducted at the school.
In Kedah, state Religious, Education and Human Resources Committee chairman Datuk Najmi Ahmad said the schools had greatly emphasised the safety and health of students during the examination.
There are 29,939 candidates in the state and the biggest number is in the Sungai Petani district with 5,944, followed by Kota Setar (4,931), Kulim (4,138), Kubang Pasu (3,495), and Baling (2,623).
In Kelantan, state Local Government, Housing and Health Committee chairman Dr Izani Husin said any candidate who had been infected and undergoing quarantine would not be allowed to sit the examination.
These candidates, he said, would be grouped to sit the examination on dates to be decided after they had completed the quarantine.
In Penang, 19,919 candidates are taking the examination.
Of the total, 18,128 are from public schools, with the rest from Maktab Rendah Sains Mara, religious and private schools and Sekolah Agama Rakyat.
State Education director Abdul Rashid Abdul Samad said the examinations would be held at 151 centres.
State Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Mokhtar said sanitisation had been carried out in schools since last week, and it was hoped students, staff and parents would be less anxious over safety issues.
In Sabah, 36,432 students will take the examination.
The Sabah Education Department said the examinations would be conducted at 314 centres with 5,305 officers on duty.
“The SPM candidates are from 24 district education offices, involving 33,453 from public schools, 1,297 from private schools and 1,682 individual candidates,” the department said.
First-semester students of vocational schools will sit their examinations from today to Feb 25, while second-semester students will undergo their exams from March 8 to 19.
A total of 738 vocational students from Kudat, Keningau, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Tawau, Kota Kinabalu and Beaufort will take the examinations at seven centres.
For Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia, first-semester students will sit their examinations from March 16 to 22, while second-semester students will have their exams from April 5 to 12.
Examinations such as Japan-ese and German languages will be held on Feb 23, while the Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia will be held between March 29 and April 27.