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01 February, 2023
 
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Exam paper leak rocks school reform in Cyprus

Greek drama unfolds after alleged leak made public, teachers point finger to semester reform

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There was uproar in the Greek Cypriot education system on Monday after an exam paper leak was made public, with authorities unsure whether to call police and teachers calling on the government to rethink a controversial semester reform.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou is reportedly seeking legal advice from the state’s attorney general office after media reports said a private school teacher allegedly gave a heads up to some of her senior students about questions included in a Modern Greek mid-term exam on Monday.

The exam, a winter final which is part of a semester reform, was called off after students had already began writing, local media reports said, adding some students left before being handed a backup exam while others answered questions on the test in question.

The Greek Cypriot public education system has been riddled with problems for decades, including anecdotal evidence of exam paper leaks in the past as well as teachers union objections to reform

A screenshot of what appeared to be a text message, addressed to a female recipient at a private institution and allegedly circulated to other students, had warned that the exam “is not an easy one” and proceeded to list a number of topics included in the test. The message was reportedly sent just before 9:30am, an hour before the exam was scheduled to begin at 10:30am. 

OELMEK teachers union president Costas Hadjisavvas, who has been a critic of semester exam reform, described the matter as “very serious” and told media he had proposed to the minister to reschedule the exam for January 31.

“This policy is problematic and our demand for a wide-ranging meeting between all stakeholders to discuss what is the best way to evaluate academic performance that first and foremost serves the students,” Hadjisavvas said.

Prodromou later contested the notion that semester reform was to blame, adding an educator who was wrongly given access to the printing room could have done this also at the end of the academic year.

Law enforcement officials have yet to be asked to carry out an investigation, local media suggested, citing sources with the Cyprus News Agency that said “this took place in public, there’s no need to call the police.”

The Greek Cypriot public education system has been riddled with problems for decades, including anecdotal evidence of exam paper leaks in the past as well as teachers union objections to reform. Final exams are also produced centrally and not based on actual classroom instruction in each school.  

Winter exams have been problematic after organized educators, parents, and teachers argued they were too stressful and prone to teaching-to-the-test habits.

Critics have called for winter exams to take place before the Christmas holidays, as it was originally planned in a government bill, but this has proven to be unworkable following a nasty debate and opposition to semester reform. A watered-down version was later passed by the House but other problems, including student protests and the pademic, made it difficult for experts to assess the policy. 

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Cyprus  |  education  |  exam  |  school  |  semester  |  reform  |  teachers  |  union  |  OELMEK  |  Hadjisavvas  |  minister  |  Prodromou

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