School exams fiasco

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Stakeholders in the school system should apologise to students over the shambles caused after an exam was interrupted following suspicions of a leak, said secondary education teachers’ union OELMEK.

Final year high school students had to put down their pens well into an exam, following Education Ministry’s instructions as the topics had allegedly been leaked just hours before.

A private school teacher allegedly leaked the topics of the Modern Greek exam, the first of the twice-yearly tests sat by final-year students.

In comments to state radio CyBC, OELMEK boss Costas Hadjisavvas apologised on behalf of teachers, noting they and the state have failed them.

Hadjisavvas said the mess was not easy to clean, as the incident caused injustice for many students.

The ministry said they were informed at approximately 9:20 am Monday that students had been receiving messages detailing the exam topics.

After investigating the issue, students were told to stop their exam about 30 minutes in.

Students were sometimes told to stop 45 minutes into the exam.

Students were then instructed to proceed with a different exam at 11.30 pm, despite some having already left.

“Due to the confusion created, students were allowed to finish the first paper, which has been cancelled.

“We had some students who refused to take a second paper.

“And we had many out-of-town students who could not finish the second paper as they had to catch the bus at 1.35 pm.”

Hadjisavvas added that students that did take the second paper did so under stress from the confusion.

He believes the Greek exam should have been cancelled and rescheduled.

“Since that did not happen, the Education Ministry must apologise to final year students, support them psychologically and set an immediate date for those students who were unable to take the examination.”

Private school

Hadjisavvas said the union trusted teachers participating in examination committees, but “unfortunately, this unexpected event occurred from a private school teacher”.

OELMEK argues that the January exams should be abolished, as it defeats the purpose of reducing tests and increasing teaching time.

The twice-yearly exams, being sat for the first time by students at all high school levels, will last until the end of next week.

Schools closed for the Christmas holidays, with students returning to class in February because of exams.

“The way the system currently works sees classes interrupted for the exam period.

“This means that students will return in February, only to close again in early April for Easter, come for a few days as schools will close for the next exam period”.

Third-year lyceum students started with Modern Greek on Monday, while second-year students will begin exams in physics, economy, and art subjects.

Lyceum students will take exams until 27 January, while gymnasium students will finish on 24 January.

Written exam scores will count for 40% of students’ grades at the end of the year, while 60% will be measured by participation in class, homework, written exercises, and individual or group work.