Dipti Singh

Education officials in NSW recently confirmed that the HSC exams will take place as the COVID-19 outbreak left students confused and nervous about what shape this year’s HSC will now take in their final year. The HSC is Australia’s High School Credential with 75,006 students taking one or more courses in 2019. Around, 67,915 are on track to finish their HSC this year. NSW public schools have seen a huge rise in student absences, from 40% on March 23 to 74% on March 24, following NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement.

Peter Shergold, president of the NSW Education Standards Authority, said changes are being made to ensure that Year 12 students will graduate but did not include any information about how the final exam format will be altered. A COVID-19 Response Committee was also formed as a matter of urgency to resolve the emerging issues. The committee is sponsored by the NSW Department of Education, Catholic Schools NSW, and Independent Schools Association. After the conference, NESA Board Chair Professor Peter Shergold said, “we know you are nervous. Although we are facing an extraordinary scenario, we would like to remind you that this year you will be able to receive a HSC certificate and that the certificate will promote access to university, continuing education, and jobs as it has for students over the past 50 years.”

A new committee is being formed to provide recommendations for VET students on job placements and advice for students completing major works that include assessment of group or individual performances. When students get ill, there are arrangements in their schools and with NESA to ensure they are not disadvantaged. The Board immediately authorises administrators or programme officials to agree on the number and weighting of specific assessment activities for their school in 2020.

In the coming weeks and months, UAC will work closely with universities, NESA and schools to understand the effect of potential improvements to the HSC on the ATAR and university admissions.