Hong Kong ESF students launch petition calling for IB exams to be cancelled

  • IB candidates argue that the dual route is not a fair way to assess students, as some will be judged solely on coursework and internal exams
  • The exams are set to being on April 29
Amalissa Hall |

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English Schools Foundation (ESF) students have launched a petition calling for a stop to the upcoming IB exams. Photo: SCMP/May Tse

Some English Schools Foundation (ESF) students have launched a petition to stop the upcoming International Baccalaureate (IB) exams, days before they are set to start on April 29, and implore ESF to take the non-exam route instead.

In the petition, which began April 24, students state that the dual route currently offered is not a fair way to assess students. Those in Hong Kong, which is taking the exam route, are subject to more work and extra pressure, they argue, in relation to students in other countries who will be assessed purely on internal assessments and coursework, such as Britain, which has cancelled the exam.

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Students taking the non-exam route have already completed all assessments, and will have had more time to do so, compared to those who have to study for exams as well, they said. This has had a negative effect on students’ mental health , which will have an impact on their exams.

The IB Organisation (IBO) addressed issues of fairness in a statement on its website , saying: “For the non-exam route, no student will receive a result lower than the lowest of their coursework and quality-assured predicted grade. This is similar to the exam route, where no student will receive a grade lower than the lowest of their coursework and exam marks.”

They added: “Any generosity in the award of grades will be carefully replicated for both routes.”

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The petition stated that due to school disruptions, ESF students do not feel adequately prepared for exams. Schools in Hong Kong are currently allowed two-thirds of their student capacity, but in order to meet government restrictions, students are only allowed to be on campus for half day lessons.

In addition, due to the introduction of the South African Covid-19 variant in Hong Kong, students say they feel at risk of exposure by going out to take the tests.

As of today, 881 students have signed the petition and encouraged more students to email Belinda Greer, head of ESF in Hong Kong, asking her to consider the non-exam route before they begin.

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