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Class Of 2021’s Mental Health Struggles To Be Recognized In Australian State’s School

The impact of lockdown will be factored into the final assessment of Victorian students after twin surveys gave distressing feedback.

MELBOURNE, Australia — All Year 12 students of the southeast Australian state, Victoria, will get special consideration for their final Victorian Certificate of Education scores due to another year of Covid-19 lockdown.

The Victoria Certificate of Education is the senior secondary school qualification awarded to students who successfully complete years 11 and 12 in Victoria. It is the preferred choice for students who want to pursue tertiary education.

The class of 2021 statewide has had to study remotely for the second year in a row, and important assessments have been put off.

Under normal circumstances, students have to apply for special consideration individually, but assessment authorities will use the process to calculate results for every student completing one or more Victorian Certificate of Education or Vocational education and training unit 3 to 4 subjects in 2021.

This means their final exam scores will be considered alongside other data, such as the General Achievement Test and performance across other assessments.

Education Minister James Merlino said “The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia – but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they’re impacted by the pandemic, we’re supporting them to succeed in VCE and VCAL.” (Erik Anderson/AAP Image)

With the state’s current restrictions in place until July 27, the General Achievement Test will be rescheduled to August 12, pending advice from health authorities.

The impact of the virus on individual students will also be considered, including any direct impacts on a student’s health and ongoing issues with remote learning.

“The Delta variant of coronavirus is causing uncertainty right around Australia, but we want to make sure every student knows that no matter how much they are impacted by the pandemic, we are supporting them to succeed in Victorian Certificate of Education and Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning,” said James Merlino, Education Minister.

It comes as a snapshot of young Victorian’s shows about half of those surveyed felt “bad or terrible” during the last lockdown, with students calling for recognition of the impact on their grades.

The survey by the state’s Commission for Children and Young People found 10- to 12-year-olds and those aged about 17 were most likely to be feeling down, as well as those with a disability or health problems or who identify as gender diverse.

It is an increase of about 10 percent over the last snapshot, taken six months ago.

One 18-year-old indigenous woman reported constantly feeling stressed and anxious.

“I hate being stuck at home, and my depression skyrockets. I just feel alone and numb,” she said.

“I feel like I am on fire while people with hoses are standing and just watching; that is the best way to describe how I feel since Covid started.”

About 20 percent of the 312 children and young people who responded to the online survey reported feeling good or great.

Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People, Liana Buchanan, said the results pointed to the cumulative impact of the pandemic.

“We need to do much more to consider the impact on children when making critical decisions, so those impacts can be mitigated,” she said.

Edited by Saptak Datta and Krishna Kakani

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