IB Exams: 27th March Deadline for Decision

The International Baccalaureate Organisation has announced that a decision as to whether to go ahead with the May exams or to offer other options will be made by 27th March.
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This article is part of an editorial series on Covid-19

Following on from the decisions made by the UK and Indian Governments yesterday to cancel (for the UK) or postpone (for India) public examinations due to take place in the immediate future, the International Baccalaureate Organisation, in a change of position from last week, has announced that a decision will be made on 27th March as to what will happen in regard to the IB exams scheduled for May.

In an announcement issued at midday today (19th March) Central European time, the Geneva based organisation stated:

The IB, like other examination bodies, is treating the challenges that this pandemic is presenting for our worldwide school community very seriously. We have deep empathy for the impact this is having on over 200,000 IB students across the globe and are currently reviewing all available options. We are gathering feedback from schools, students, universities and official bodies to determine the most judicious way forward. It is critical for us to ensure that the options we provide our world of schools are done with compassion for our students and teachers and fairness for the difficult circumstances our students and educators are experiencing. Ultimately, we want to ensure that our students have every chance of success as they pursue university entry or future career plans. Our students are at the forefront of our thinking as we navigate this extraordinary global pandemic.

The statement, published on the IBO's website, went on to say:

"We are working through these options with the utmost urgency and will be providing a decision on the May 2020 examination session and the options available for schools and students no later than 27 March 2020." 

Last week - on 11th March - the IBO announced that it would extend deadlines for coursework, but had no intention to change the exam dates, noting that:

The IB is unable to change the May 2020 exam schedule. The IB examination schedule is a global schedule and therefore it would be unreasonable to change it for students who are not affected.

However, it would seem that with the spread of Covid 19 in Europe (including Switzerland itself which has been hard hit), where traditionally the largest number of IB schools have been located, and the decisions of other international Exam Boards driven by government measures, even the IB examinations are unlikely to remain unaffected this year.

This article will be updated as further news becomes available.

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