An exam in progress. Picture for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: GN Archives

Dubai: UAE schools on Monday said students would receive qualification for university even as IB Diploma exams now stand cancelled.

The IB (International Baccalaureate) organisation on Monday announced on its website (www.ibo.org) the school-leaving exams, whose results are accepted by universities internationally, have been cancelled this year. The move comes amid the COVID-19 pandemic that forced schools to move classes online in the UAE and a number of other countries.

IB said “the May 2020 examinations as scheduled between 30 April and 22 May for Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme candidates will no longer be held”.

Built-in safeguards

It added: “Depending on what they registered for, the student will be awarded a Diploma or a Course Certificate which reflects their standard of work. This is based on student’s coursework and the established assessment expertise, rigor and quality control already built into the programmes.”

Further details will be sent to schools by March 27, IB said.

Following the news, educators from UAE schools, over 40 of which offer IB Diploma, told Gulf News students would receive qualification to progress to higher education.

No disruption

Gavin Walford-Wright, Chief People, Marketing and Admissions Officer, Taaleem, said: “Our IB students will continue to work with their teachers to ensure that their assessments truly reflect their performances in their IB study components. These assessments will be used and moderated by the IB to award final examination grades.”

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Gavin Walford-Wright Image Credit: Supplied

Many Taaleem students have received offers from universities, he added.

IB Diploma is accepted by leading universities whose applicants receive conditional admission based on their predicted IB grades and other considerations.

IB will shortly announce how it will provide students with official documentation for use with university admissions now that examinations are cancelled, Walford-Wright said.

Extending deadlines

Timothy Craig Roberts, Principal, Raffles World Academy, said the understanding is students will be offered university places based on predicted grades, internal assessments and school or teacher recommendation.

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Timothy Craig Roberts Image Credit: Supplied

“To offer our students the best possible access to prestigious universities, Innoventures Education has extended the deadlines for internal assessment submissions, to give students a chance to refine their submissions. Furthermore, we have extended the school year until the end of May, and created a bespoke pre-university admissions programme… so that they are eminently prepared for university…” Roberts added.

James MacDonald, managing director of non-profit Al Futtaim Education Foundation in Dubai, which operates Deira International School and Universal American School, said student assessment at school-level should provide, under forthcoming guidance by IB, a reliable basis for universities.

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James Macdonald Image Credit: Supplied

IB educator

MacDonald added: “These are exceptional times, but our students are very fortunate to have highly committed and skilled educators who are going to be able to see them through the final stages of their IB journey. As a long time IB educator myself, I am confident that IB will have systems in place to ensure that the students’ internal assessment work will suffice in providing valid and reliable assessment data for universities.”

Maintaining standards

David Fitzgerald, Vice President, Cluster Lead – American/IB Schools, GEMS Education, said students will receive all needed support ahead of their university plans.

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David Fitzgerald Image Credit: Supplied

He added: “We want to reassure our students and parents that we are doing everything in our power to maintain the highest level of learning and assessment through the end of the spring semester and beyond so that students are fully prepared for university. We will continue to conduct online classes as planned and support students in their final year of schooling.”

Preparation courses

Urs Jungo, IB Diploma Coordinator, Swiss International Scientific School in Dubai, said grade 12 students at the school will continue to engage in e-learning and prepare for university. “During the course of the next four weeks, students will continue to participate in a range of academic projects and activities to further develop their personal organisation and time management skills. Finally, in order to prepare for the next step in their academic lives, they will be provided with opportunities to take part in university preparation-related courses,” Jungo added.

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Urs Jungo