Cancellation of International A-Level and IGCSE qualifications for May/June 2020 COVID-19

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The UK announced on Wednesday 18th of March 2020 the official cancellation of all GCSE and A-Level examinations during the May/June session due to the coronavirus outbreak. This has led to mass confusion on a global scale as students sitting their International A-Levels and IGCSEs don't know what will happen for them. For now, as exam boards as Pearson Edexcel have stated, if schools open by the time of the exams, they will be expected to sit those exams. 

This shows a complete lack of judgement from the the exam boards, as they have cancelled exams for UK students, who will enter University most likely based on predicted grades and mock results, which are said to be wrong 4 out of every 5 times, and won't have to sit those exams International students will sit as long as quarantine restrictions are lessened by then, which due to the absence from school and quarantines, puts them in a disadvantageous position. International students are expected to prepare for their exams from home with very basic support and reduced online learning, in the best of cases. 

Many of them will attempt to enter UK universities, and now have an uphill battle against students who, due to not having to sit exams will in most cases be awarded grades they would not necessarily get if they were to sit exams, and as such it puts International students at a competitive disadvantage. 

We, IAL students around the world, are pleading to the UK government to reconsider their decision and make the same call they have for the UK students, as to preserve the interest of students and maintain equal treatment internationally. 

Countries like China, Italy and Spain, as of today, have around 80,967, 47,201 and 20,412 cases respectively, numbers which are rising exponentially on a daily basis, and are currently under one of the strictest quarantines ever established in these countries. In China, students have spent over 2 months in their homes under a mandatory lockdown which has prevented them from attending their classes, and in many cases have been forced to adapt under very difficult conditions to online learning, which isn’t as effective as the traditional learning method in classrooms. In addition, studying from home with a weakened support system is likely to affect many students ability to achieve the grades they were predicted, and could end up affecting their future careers greatly. Mainland China has seen a growth of 14 per cent this year in the combined number of entries for Cambridge International A Level and Cambridge IGCSE, with 71,955 entries from 22,320 candidates. This is only from the Cambridge examination board and only in China, whilst many others also have many candidates, showing it is a great number of students who will be affected by this decision.

Meanwhile, Italy and Spain, amongst several other countries, have already entered the lockdown protocol and are at a much more advanced stage than the UK, which has put a stop to learning on a nation-wide scale. This again puts these students, amongst hundreds of thousands of others from around the world at a great disadvantage. 

Furthermore, this pandemic could create a huge risk to student’s and teachers health. Students who have suffered from the virus and potentially have lost online class time will see their results severely affected. Also, sitting these exams could create a massively worrying health risk to all students sitting exams in crowded rooms will classmates potentially infected by this highly infectious disease. 

Through this petition, all we are asking for is an equal chance for success, and equal opportunities for students both in the UK and globally, as this mass outbreak of COVID-19 is likely to affect many students sitting these exams internationally, and in many cases worse than the UK’s outbreak, as explained earlier.