The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Board has confirmed that the Higher School Certificate (HSC) is going ahead in 2020.
NESA Chairman, Professor Peter Shergold, made the announcement on March 24 after the NSW Government’s announcement that schools would be transitioning from onsite to distance education the day before.
This made for a tense 24 hours for Year 12 students and their families, with the government’s announcement not giving much detail about what this meant for the class of 2020.
Prof Shergold’s assurance that the exams would proceed also came with a NESA commitment to provide clear and regular advice to the community about the HSC as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.
To this end, the Board has established a COVID-19 Response Committee to address developing issues as a matter of urgency.
Prof Shergold had three key messages for current HSC students:
“We know you are worried.
“While we recognise we are facing an unprecedented situation, we want to assure you that you will be able to get a HSC certificate this year, and that the certificate will facilitate access to university, further education and employment, as it has for students over the past 50 years.
“Keep learning, do your assessments as advised by your school, make progress on your major projects where you can and, most importantly, look after yourself, whether you are at school or at home.
“Reach out to family, friends and your teachers if you need to.
“If you get sick, your school and NESA have provisions to ensure you are not disadvantaged,” he said.
Effective immediately, NESA is giving Principals or system authorities the power to make decisions about the number and weighting of HSC formal assessment tasks for their school in 2020.
“This action provides schools with the flexibility they need to support their students in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Prof Shergold said.
He added that the Board would be making more updates to Principals about how this delegation of authority will work.
The NESA COVID-19 Response Committee is aware of and will urgently provide advice on the following issues: work placements for VET students; students working on a group drama, dance or music performance; and, students completing projects and major works.
Prof Shergold said the situation faced by schools was unprecedented and that the Board recognises above all else that the health, safety and welfare of students and teachers is paramount.
“Decisions and advice will be based on the principles of fairness and equity that have always underpinned the internationally recognised HSC credential,” Prof Shergold said.
Press release, Mar 24