SMU Cancels Exams While NUS & NTU Shift Large Classes Online Due To Covid-19 Concerns

SMU, NTU & NUS Implement Emergency Arrangements In Light Of Covid-19

SMU has cancelled the upcoming mid-term examinations for undergraduate students, according to a report by The Straits Times (ST). The University cited the Covid-19 outbreak as their main motivation.

covid-19An empty hallway at SMU

A circular was reportedly sent to students, announcing the restriction on activities until 15 Mar.

The weightage for the assignments will likely be transferred to students’ final exams. Course instructors may elect to convert the exams into online or take-home assessments, but they must give a week’s time to students to complete these.


According to ST, it appears that the University intends for the move to prevent students under quarantine from being disadvantaged. In a statement to SMU students, SMU provost Professor Timothy Clark said:

We will do everything we can to minimise disruptions in learning while balancing our need to safeguard the well-being of the SMU community.

Other universities’ responses

Thus far, SMU seems to be alone in cancelling mid-term exams. Both the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) are planning to go ahead with in-class assessments.


Both schools however have adopted different measures to combat the covid-19 outbreak.

NUS has shifted classes with more than 50 students in them online. To clarify why the shift wasn’t for all classes, the senior vice-provost for undergraduate education at NUS Professor Bernard Tan stated in an update on the school’s website:

E-learning is not as optimal as face-to-face classes but it is better than having no lessons… We do e-learning only when it is necessary to, such as for big classes, to reduce risk of virus transmission.

According to ST, an English literature student at NUS that they spoke to was still due to take an in-class exam on Wednesday (19 Feb).

Meanwhile, NTU has adopted a similar measure in controlling class sizes. They have started splitting lectures where attendance numbers exceed a certain size.


According to ST, an NTU spokesperson said:

[They will implement] necessary precautionary measures for those sitting continual assessments on campus to ensure that students’ learning is not affected.

They will be enforcing temperature taking and QR code registration for contact tracing purposes. Furthermore, the University has shifted some classes online, and is exploring the option to split class sizes for in-class examinations.

Featured image adapted from YouTube.

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