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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 -- There is less than 24 hours to go before the 401,105 candidates of the Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 sit for the major public examination, albeit in a new normal.
Unlike previous years when candidates entered the examination hall with just their pens and the knowledge crammed, candidates this year are also required to don face masks and use hand sanitisers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
To ensure that students are in a safe environment while sitting for the examination, final preparations including disinfection are taking place at 3,310 SPM examination centres nationwide, in accordance with the guidelines and standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the National Security Council (MKN) and the Ministry of Health (MOH).
In JOHOR, State Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) 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 is implemented just once during the examination, but should a COVID-19 case be reported, another round of sanitisation would be conducted at the school.
Meanwhile in KEDAH, State Religious, Education and Human Resources Committee chairman Datuk Najmi Ahmad assured that the management of the respective schools has given great emphasis on the safety and health of students during the examination.
There are 29,939 candidates in the state and the biggest number is in Sungai Petani district with 5,944 candidates, followed by Kota Setar (4,931); Kulim (4,138); Kubang Pasu (3,495) and Baling has 2,623 candidates.
In KELANTAN, State Local Government, Housing and Health Committee chairman Dr Izani Husin said any SPM candidate who has been infected and is undergoing quarantine, will not sit for the examination tomorrow.
Instead he said, these candidates would be grouped together to sit for the examination later and suitable dates would be chosen after they have completed the quarantine period.
In PENANG, State Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Mokhtar said with the sanitation exercise carried out in schools since last week, it is hoped that students, staff and parents would be less anxious over safety issues.
In TERENGGANU, parents with children studying in boarding schools could only resort to phone calls to offer last minute advice and encouragement to allay their child’s fears in facing the examination.
A parent Nurul Husna Mohamed, 48, said though she supported the school management’s decision in not allowing parents to meet their children at the hostel for the safety of SPM candidates, deep down her wish was to give her daughter a hug as emotional support.
"All I could do is to pray for her wellbeing and remind her to stay calm, do her best and leave the rest to Allah,” said Nurul who last met her daughter on Jan 9 before she returned to her hostel at Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) Kuantan, Pahang.
Meanwhile, in NEGERI SEMBILAN, the 16,554 candidates who will be sitting for the examination tomorrow have been advised to comply with all SOPs set, including to maintain physical distancing, bring along hand sanitisers and wear a face mask.
State Education director Md Fiah Md Jamin said teachers and the school authorities had also been in close contact with the District Health Centre and MKN in case of any untoward incident.
In PERAK, 620 officers and policemen have been assigned to monitor 428 examination centres and schools statewide, throughout the public examination.
Perak police chief Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said 100 mobile patrol cars (MPV) and 200 motorcycle patrol units have been tasked to ensure candidates safety when at the examination centres.
Menteri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad in extending his best wishes to all candidates hoped that they would remain calm and ace the examination.
Apart from the SPM candidates, Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) and Sijil Tinggi Agama Malaysia (STAM) candidates will also be sitting for their examinations tomorrow.
Earlier the Examination Board informed that to ensure smooth management of the examinations, 48,014 invigilators have been appointed to oversee students at 3,310 examination centres nationwide.