Deputy Education Minister Dr Mah Hang Soon said that the reopening of schools to only SPM and STPM students was a "balanced" decision taken to minimise the risk of exposure to Covid-19 and the disruption to tertiary education plans.
Mah said on a Facebook post that the number of students who were presently allowed in schools only comprises about 20 percent of the student population, and the reopening schools to all students would lead to a greater risk of Covid-19 exposure.
"We received many views, expressions and suggestions from parents on the issue of school opening.
"We at the Education Ministry are also aware that opening a school to all students and teachers will expose our children to the threat of Covid infection.
"However postponing the SPM and STPM exams would further delay and disrupt teenagers' plans for a tertiary education," he said last night.
"This is a difficult dilemma, but a balanced decision had to be taken by the Education Ministry.
"To minimise risk, only students sitting for the SPM and STPM exams have to return to schools.
"Any postponement (of the examinations) would further delay and disrupt the future of our children," he said.
Tindakan Kementerian Pendidikan Malaysia (KPM)Kebelakangan ini, saya dan rakan-rakan sekerja termasuk YB Menteri Kanan...
Mah added that all schools were required to adhere to strict standard operating procedures, such as wearing face masks and physical distancing.
He also said schools would also be closed immediately if Covid-19 cases were detected there.
"This is a balanced decision – one that minimises risk yet takes into consideration the grouses, suggestions and views of all parties, which include students, parents, teachers, and others.
The Education Ministry was also working with broadcasters RTM and Media Prima, as well as other television stations, to offer educational programmes on television channels for free, added Mah.