The Open University of China (OUC) formulated an examination plan for the 2020 spring semester in accordance with the COVID-19 epidemic prevention and control requirements of the Ministry of Education and in consideration of the actual situation of its branches (schools).

The final examinations for this semester is made up of online examinations and written paper tests. The time period set for the online examinations is May to August. The OUC branches (schools) and test centres shall organise for students to choose a session from the scheduled times to take the examination in the computer examination rooms. After taking into account of the needs of epidemic prevention and control in different regions, the OUC has added a written paper test for this semester to provide further opportunities for candidates who could not take the first examination due to the epidemic.

The first written paper tests for this semester were successfully completed from 4-5 July. The examinations represent the first large-scale national examinations since the outbreak of COVID-19, which was a test for the OUC’s organisational abilities. The OUC headquarters, branches (schools), and study centres all attached great importance to and conducted overall planning and careful arrangements for the examinations. Equal attention was paid to both epidemic prevention and control measures and strict examination discipline, which ensured the smooth progress of the examination and proved the OUC’s ability to withstand the test of the epidemic.

The written paper test was adopted by 30 branches and five schools, involving a total of 1,810 test centres and 3,160,118 person/times across 24 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions. Each test centre successfully completed the organisation of the written paper test without any incidents. All branches (schools) and test centres took effective measures to ensure the health and safety of candidates and staff in accordance with the Key Points for Epidemic Prevention and Control. During the Final Examination of the Spring Semester the OUC in 2020 and local epidemic prevention and control needs. The epidemic prevention and control measures included the establishment of a leading group, the construction of a joint prevention and control mechanism with local medical and health departments, tracking the health status of the candidates before the examinations, and strengthening epidemic prevention and control measures during the examination.

The OUC headquarters clearly pointed out that the principle of paying equal attention to both epidemic prevention and control and strict examination discipline should be adhered to during these examinations. Examination discipline should not be slackened just because of the epidemic. All branches (schools) and test centres should take various measures to strengthen the supervision of the examination process. During the examinations, all branches, schools, and test centres reinforced integrity education for students, strengthened the application of video monitoring and identification systems to monitor the examination process, and strictly enforced examination discipline.

Statistics show that a total of 1,412 staff from the OUC branches (schools) were sent to inspect the examination process, which ensured its smooth and orderly progress. During the examinations, the OUC headquarters worked together with the branches (schools) to spot check photos of 149 test centres, the ID identification equipment of 14 test centres, and the monitoring videos of nine test centres.

A test centre being disinfected prior to the examinations

Temperature retest room and quarantine room

Entryway for test takers

Medical supplies and waiting area for test takers

Test takers enter the test centre in an orderly way

Screening and collection of test taker information for epidemic prevention and control purposes

Test takers waiting to enter the examination room

Test takers admitted to the examination room after facial recognition and identity verification

Mobile phone management and monitoring of the examination room

Special test takers

By Men Hailong, OUC