DUBAI //Hundreds of Grade 12 pupils at state high schools will have to retake their biology exam after the Ministry of Education confirmed that they had cheated.
An investigation showed that of the 24,727 pupils who sat the exam on June 21, 633 knew beforehand what the questions were.
Officials at the ministry were alerted by teachers from across the country that the exam had been leaked to pupils via BlackBerry Messenger.
A committee including all of the education zone directors and examination monitors was set up to take action. Culprits were identified through interviews and a thorough review of all biology papers to identify a pattern of cheating.
"The situation is under control," said Humaid Al Qattami, Minister of Education. "[Resitting] of the exams will serve as punishment for these pupils."
Mr Al Qattami said investigations were continuing into who had leaked the paper to pupils.
The authority did not say whether pupils or their parents would be allowed to contest the decision.
Final-year results are to be announced next week. Those who receive a zero will be required to sit a second examination in two to three weeks' time.
Sadiq Al Rashid, the principal of Al Daid School, said that the ministry's decision would act as a deterrent. "There should also be more controls to keep the papers secure," he said.