Principals' Association: Students should be able to graduate without exams

School desk (picture is illustrative).
School desk (picture is illustrative). Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The Estonian Principals' Association (Eesti koolijuhtide ühendus) has called upon the Ministry of Education and Research to quickly take a decision on the end of the school year and graduations.

The chairman of the association Urmo Uiboleht has explained the proposal sent to the ministry on Tuesday to ERR's online news in Estonian.

"Final exams will be decoupled from graduation." Does this mean that both basic school and upper secondary school can be finished without an exam?

Yes. Basic school and upper secondary school can be finished without having to pass an exam. Today, the condition for completing school is an exam.

If there will be no exams for basic school students, what is the solution when a student wishes to continue studies in another school?

The sooner this decision will be made, the sooner we can arrange the transition between schools in a new situation. Admissions to upper secondary schools have been postponed and when the emergency situation is extended, they will be moved into summer. When the situation becomes clearer, secondary schools could work out alternatives for admissions: Skype conversations, online testing etc. Admissions can also be done on the basis of the basic school diploma.

The necessity and organization for upper secondary school state exams will be discussed with universities as they are key parties. Does this mean that we will go back to the time preceding state exams when admissions to certain programmes were done on the basis of entry exams?

If the state exams will not take place, universities cannot set thresholds based on the exams. Admissions are organized by the universities and here cooperation between universities and upper secondary schools is paramount. We have to be ready for the emergency situation to last, let us together start searching for solutions.

A method of pass-fail can be used to evaluate students instead of grades. Will this concern only the graduation classes?

The law does not permit pass-fail to be used for final grading. However, right now we operate under the emergency situation and the usual manner of schoolwork, feedback and evaluation has ceased. This makes it difficult to ensure the validity of learning outcomes and is why greater flexibility should be provided for schools regarding pass-fail grading. This concerns all classes.

"The structure of the school year (study periods and breaks) remains valid and possible changes in dates should be confirmed during the week." Does this encompass the summer break from June 10 to August 31?

Yes. We also consider it important that the April spring break takes place. Teachers, students and parents need a holiday. When the emergency situation ends, non-formal education should be offered.

The statement was signed by 98 principals.



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Editor: Anders Nõmm

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