Jakarta. The Indonesian government has decided to cancel the 2020 national exams at all levels – elementary, junior high and senior high school – to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"After discussing it with the president, we decided to cancel the 2020 national exams," Education and Culture Minister Nadiem Makarim said after a video conference led by President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo in Jakarta on Tuesday.
Nadiem said the decision was taken not just for the safety of the students, but also their families.
"Not only for [the safety of] the students but also their parents and grandparents, considering eight million students would've taken part in the exams," he said.
"The national exams are not a requirement for graduation or entry to universities. There are more risks than benefits in continuing on with them," Nadiem said.
The minister also said normal school exams should no longer be conducted face-to-face but moved online instead.
Nadiem also advised teachers to not just give assignments but also interact with their students while schools remain on lockdown.
The Federation of Indonesian Teachers Union's (FSGI) deputy secretary-general, Satriwan Salim, said the union supported the government's decision to cancel the national exams at all levels.
Satriwan suggested the Education and Culture Ministry could reallocate the budget for Covid-19 relief.