The Ministry of Education had earlier announced a four-week break for students from March 8 to April 4. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Testing centres in the UAE have confirmed that exams will be postponed as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus Covid-19.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) had earlier announced on Sunday that the SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test) test scheduled for March 15 has been cancelled. The SAT is a standardized test typically used for college and university admissions in the United States, and administered by the College Board.

On its website, the College Board posted a statement clarifying the current situation in affected areas, which includes the UAE, Bahrain and Kuwait.

“[The] College Board has cancelled March 14 SAT registrations in areas affected by coronavirus (Covid-19) out of concern for student health and safety, and in accordance with guidance issued by international health organizations, evolving travel restrictions, and school closures,” it said.

The website also explained that because of the rapidly evolving situation, “students and test centres [who] have not yet been notified of closings in these countries … will receive email confirmation within the next several days.”

In a statement, ADEK assured that all UAE-based students will be informed of the any developments regarding the dates of upcoming exams in the future, and confirmed that it will coordinate with schools to ensure that students and test takers who are due to take the exams will not be affected.

Last week, the Ministry of Education announced that all educational facilities will close for 4 weeks as of Sunday, meaning the early start of spring vacation for both public and private schools, colleges and universities. According to the announcement, the spring break will start on Sunday, March 8.

The move comes as part of “preventive and precautionary measures to ensure the safety of students and is in line with efforts and measures taken at the national level, aimed at reducing the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our community - from Sunday March 8 to Saturday April 4, training institutes and educational service centres in UAE must close their premises to students and deliver all training through distance learning only,” the ministry twitted.

Students and adults registered for the TEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) have also been affected by the outbreak, with a number of testing centres closed during the four week break.

The TOEFL is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers.

On its website, ETS – who administers tests such as TOEFL and GRE – said: “Due to concern for the health and safety of students and staff, TOEFL test administrations have been postponed in some locations.”

Countries in Europe and the Middle East that have been affected by the postponement include Italy, Kuwait and the UAE.

“In each case, the decision to postpone testing has been made in collaboration with country governments, test centers or other partners on the ground. You will be notified if your test has been postponed,” it added.