Coronavirus: IGCSEs cancelled worldwide

Cambridge International board cancels IGCSE and Pre-U exams in all countries for 2020

Catherine Lough

exam paper

Cambridge International has announced the worldwide cancellation of its IGCSEs and its all other exams in 2020 because of the coronavirus.

The board said that given the rapidly changing nature of the outbreak, many countries had extended school closures into May and June, which made it impossible for them to hold Cambridge International exams. 

More than 10,000 schools in more than 160 countries offer Cambridge qualifications, according to the board's website, but these exams will now no longer go ahead in 2020.

On Saturday, the board said that all Cambridge IGCSE, Pre-U and International AS & A Level exams would not run in the UK this year, after suggestions that some schools might use them to get around the cancellation of GCSEs in England.

But it said they would be sat in other countries where schools remained open and it was safe to do so. 

Now, however, the CIE board has now revealed to Tes that no international GCSEs or A levels will be available globally for pupils to sit.

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“Protecting the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff at Cambridge schools around the world has been our first priority when making decisions about our May/June exam series this year," a spokesperson for Cambridge International said.

The spokesperson said that given the changing nature of the Covid-19 outbreak and advice from the board's global community of schools, "we have taken the difficult decision not to run our international exams in May/June in any country".

This included the Cambridge IGCSE, O Level, AS & A Level, AICE Diploma and Pre-U qualifications, the spokesperson said. 

“We will be working with schools to assess students’ achievements using the best available evidence. Students will receive a grade and a certificate from Cambridge International, given the knowledge and skills they have acquired in their programmes of study.

"This will ensure students do not face disadvantage as a result of these extraordinary circumstances.

“We are talking to universities worldwide, and they are factoring these unprecedented circumstances into admissions decisions, so students can continue with their education journeys as soon as possible.”

Pearson Edexcel, which also offers IGCSEs, said these will not go ahead in the UK.

In a statement on its website, the board said: "Where schools are open and a country is deemed safe, exams for iPrimary, iLowerSecondary, International GCSE, and International A Level will take place for students outside of the UK in May and June 2020."

It added that in countries where schools had closed and it was deemed unsafe for pupils to sit exams, "students will have the opportunity to receive a grade for qualifications where an entry has been made" using teacher assessment and other data.

Oxford AQA, which runs International GCSEs abroad, also cancelled all worldwide exams on Tuesday.

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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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