KUALA LUMPUR: The Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) 2020 examination has made history as it was carried out while the country was battling the COVID-19 pandemic which forced many reforms to be implemented.

Students and all those involved had to embrace the new norms while preparing for the major examination not only during the actual exams but also throughout the learning process which was implemented via the home-based teaching and learning (PdPR) method.

While announcing the examination results analysis which was held virtually today, Senior Education Minister Datuk Dr Radzi Jidin praised all SPM 2020 candidates, describing them as a great generation.

"There has never been any SPM cohort that has gone through trials, challenges and obstacles like these SPM 2020 candidates. I salute all of you," he said.

He said the Ministry of Education (MOE) had made preparations including preparing strict standard operating procedures (SOP) to ensure the safety of students and school staff during the examination period.

He also thanked the candidates, teachers, parents as well as MOE's machinery especially the Examination Board who had given their best during this challenging period.

The examination was postponed three times due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak which was first enforced on March 18 last year.

It was scheduled to begin from Nov 16 to Dec 7, 2020 but due to the surge in the COVID-19 cases, the ministry had to postpone it for the second time to Jan 6 until Feb 9 this year.

It was finally set to be held from Feb 22 until March 25, however, candidates who were tested positive for the virus or who were quarantined were allowed to sit for the examination during the second session from April 6 to April 23.

Meanwhile, MOE Examination Board's Examination director Datuk Pkharuddin Ghazali described the SPM 2020 candidates as special as they had to endure the long waiting period due to the three postponements and to take the examination in the new norm.

"SPM 2020 is a historic journey for the national assessment system, if not for the country. It was a challenging journey for the candidates and today they are celebrating the success," he said while appearing as a guest on the Malaysia Petang Ini (MPI) programme by Bernama TV entitled 'SPM 2020 Examination Results Performance' today.

He said educators and the ministry also faced an insurmountable task of finding new approaches to ensure learning was not affected and the examination could take place in a pandemic environment.

Pkharuddin said among the reforms implemented were the online teaching and learning sessions, the strict standard operating procedures during the examination period, the increase in the number of examination officers as well as paper examiners and online announcement of the examination results which were implemented to ensure the candidates were healthy and safe.

Meanwhile, he said the deadline for SPM 2020 repeat examination online registration, which was originally set for June 18, was extended to June 25.