IB extends some coursework deadlines for students in coronavirus-hit areas, but Hong Kong schools don't budge

IB extends some coursework deadlines for students in coronavirus-hit areas, but Hong Kong schools don't budge

As of Thursday afternoon, schools that provide the International Baccalaureate curriculum have decided not to defer assessment deadlines

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The Secretary for Education, Kevin Yeung is photographed at a press conference to explain the arrangements for class suspension and related issues.
Photo: SCMP / Nora Tam

The International Baccalaureate announced some coursework deadline extensions for Hong Kong students enrolled in the diploma programme on Feb 25, in response to ongoing school closures due to the evolving coronavirus outbreak.

The postponement applies to deadlines of eCoursework, such as the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge Essay, internal assessments, as well as Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) completion entries. Initially set to be March 15, April 20, and June 1 respectively, they are now extended to April 12, May 20 and July 3. 

These extensions also apply to IB students in other areas affected by the epidemic, namely China, Macau, Mongolia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Northern Italy, Iran and South Korea. 

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As of 5pm on Thursday, most local and international schools in Hong Kong providing the IB curriculum - including English Schools Foundation schools, Diocean Boys’ School and Victoria Shanghai Academy - are still deciding whether to defer internal assessments and coursework accordingly. Meanwhile, Young Post has spoken to a few Year 12 and 13 students about their thoughts on IB’s special arrangements. 

“It would be best for our school to extend the internal deadlines regarding eCoursework,” Diocesan Boys’ School’s Alex Chan Ho-wah told Young Post. “Due to the class suspension, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to seek help from teachers. We cannot arrange regular meetings with them or get feedback from them efficiently, compared to [when we stick to] the normal school timetable,” explained the Year 12 student.

With mock exams around the corner and the huge pressure in balancing revision and finishing coursework, “extending the deadlines would most likely alleviate the burden on our shoulders,” added the 18-year-old. 

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Also in Year 12, Renaissance College Hong Kong student Amber Kwok does not support postponing deadlines, be they for coursework or internal assessments.  

“It might get complicated because we still have to apply for university, and their deadlines will remain the same,” the 16-year-old said. Changing the ecoursework schedule is not necessary with online learning, she added, while internal assessment could be modified to minimise the need for face-to-face interaction. 

St Paul's Co-educational College student Christian Suen, 17, does not see a need for his school to implement new deadlines either. The Year 13 student said most of his peers had already completed the required ecoursework to meet the school’s internal deadlines, and that internal assessments have been underway.  

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When asked if he finds it unfair to not benefit from the postponement of deadlines, Christian said ‘no’ because each school has their own assessment schedule. Even if some candidates would now have more time to prepare for coursework or internal exams, it would still be difficult for them to consult teachers during the school suspension, he explained. 

But a Year 13 South Island School student maintained “the extension of deadlines matters,” especially to schools rushing to meet them.  

“Given the current situation in Hong Kong, it is only fair to give more time to students and teachers to allow them to reallocate their resources … so that candidates can complete their work at their highest standard,” said the 17 year-old student who prefers to remain anonymous.

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