x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Exam papers leaked to Northern Emirates pupils

Mona Suhail, the deputy director of the Sharjah Education Zone, said she heard about a leak yesterday morning.

DUBAI // Investigations have begun into the possible early leaking of two Grade 12 state school examination papers.

Teachers in the Northern Emirates said they raised suspicions that questions in the June 20 Islamic education exam and Wednesday's biology test were sent to several pupils on BlackBerry Messenger before the tests.

Mona Suhail, the deputy director of the Sharjah Education Zone, said she heard about a leak yesterday morning and immediately reported it to the federal authorities.

"The heads of all the education zones are working with the ministry to find out if and how this has happened," Ms Suhail said. "If it is true, then we will try to find out who did it."

A source from the Ministry of Education said a committee had been formed to look into the reports.

The source said if the leaks were proven, the ministry would take the necessary steps, which could mean making all pupils retake both exams.

Khalifa Al Kaabi, a Grade 12 pupil at the Al Noaman School in Ajman, said friends had been talking about questions being leaked from the Islamic education paper before the exam.

"I did not get them but friends from other schools said they did," said Khalifa, 17.

He said he would not want to take the exam again if the cheating were confirmed, as "it would be unfair for pupils who have not been dishonest".

A principal in Ras Al Khaimah said his school had not heard of any such incident.

"Our exams went very smoothly," he said. "In class we are very strict and do not allow mobile phones, and check them [in] before they enter the exam hall. But if they already had the papers from before, that is very difficult to prevent."

Educators have said the ministry and zones should look at issuing new exams for the remaining subjects to avoid a similar situation next week.

Grade 12 exams for pupils in the literary stream will end on June 28. Pupils have yet to sit the geography, Arabic, English, economics and maths tests.

Those in the science stream have yet to write maths, Arabic and English, and will sit their last exam on June 26.

aahmed@thenational.ae