Grade 10 students in Goroka, Eastern Highlands are among 74,000 plus students sitting their first paper in the Grade 10 national examinations nationwide, despite a provincial lock down in place due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the province.
Eastern Highlands Governor Peter Numu and the Provincial COVID-19 Controller John Gimiseve announced on the weekend that the lock down which begun today will continue till 26th October to minimize high COVID-19 surge in the province that has spread to all eight districts in the province killing many people.
Principal of Goroka Secondary, Mr. Peter Hasu, said the Department of Education has suspended all grade 9 and 11 classes for two weeks in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said this was to create sufficient space in the school for the students who will be sitting for their exams.
“We the staff and students are applying as much as possible the COVID-19 protocols within the school premises.
Face masks are compulsory for everyone to wear as well sanitizing of hands and social distancing.”
“We are also applying 1.5 to 2 meters social distancing in all classrooms. In addition to that, students are also being sanitized at the gates before making their way into the school.”
Hasu said that the school are coping well as usual. He added that the students and staff are strictly sticking to the new normal. He added that with the current Covid-19 surge in the Province, movement of students are being closely monitored.
“We are making sure that all COVID-19 preventive measures are being applied this week so that all the grade 10 students can be able to sit for their exams without any disturbances relating to COVID-19.”
Hasu said that the school has been given further instructions from the Governor as well as the Pandemic Controller that there will be lockdown as of 2pm today.
Hasu however said that the school are trying to get in touch with the National Pandemic Controller to make an exception particularly for the grade 10 and 12s as well the teacher to continue attending school for the sake of the National Exams.
The grade 10’s began their exams today starting with Mathematics, followed by their second paper which is Personal Development.
Earlier, the Education Department said the national examinations for this year will go ahead as planned and there will be no delays despite the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Education Secretary Dr. Uke Kombra said the examinations must be held as scheduled to avoid any delays in the certification and selections and most importantly any opportunities for mal-practices such as cheating or selling and buying of examination information.
“I am calling on every province to take full responsibility and assess the COVID-19 situation in the province and ensure that students are given all support they need to be able to sit the exams.”
The published dates for the examinations are; Grade 10 (LSSCE) Exam Dates: 11 – 15 October (One Week), Grade 12 (USSCE) Exam, 18 – 22 October (One Week) and Grade 8 (COBE) Exam 25-28 October, 2021 (4 days).
A total of 31, 817 Grade 12, 74, 982 Grade10, and 137,769 Grade 8 students are expected to sit the national examinations.