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Kuwait: Heads roll in examination cheating scandal

Minister pledges zero tolerance towards abuses, irresponsible attitudes

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 15:05 June 30, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: An end of the year exam cheating scandal in Kuwait has cost two senior education officials, a school principal, one teacher, two supervisors and two state employees their jobs.

Teacher recruiters were also blamed for their inability to assess moral character in their pre-employment evaluations.

Presenting his excuses to Kuwaitis and reiterating his support to law-abiding educators, Nayef Al Hajraf, the education minister, insisted that there would be zero tolerance towards any attempt to abuse or tarnish the reputation of the education system in Kuwait.

Local social media have referred to three cases of cheating as students sat for their exams in June and circulated video clips supporting the claims.

But Al Hajraf who offered to resign in March following the death of a student in a classroom, even though reports indicated that Noora, 11, died of natural causes, said at a press conference that people have to assume responsibility for their actions.

“In the first case on June 26, two Kuwaiti employees passed the first page of the Grade 12 French exam to some students,” the minister said. “They were sacked immediately. The second case was on June 20 as Grade 11 students were taking the exam in Arabic. An investigation recommended the sacking of two people who were supposed to monitor the students and the supervisor of the school wing where the exam was held,” he said.

The school principal was told to retire and his two assistants were suspended from work, the minister said.

The education ministry assistant undersecretary for public education resigned in the wake of the cheating scandal, followed minutes later by the head of the education district in the capital Kuwait City, local media reported on Sunday.

“The third incident was in the Jahra Education District where an expatriate teacher handed over the model answers for the Grade 11 geology exam. Her contract was terminated promptly,” the minister said.

He insisted that the expatriate teacher recruiting teams should be more careful in assessing the aptitude as well as the moral character of the teachers they hire.

“I wish to apologise on behalf of the education ministry to all those who trusted the ministry in managing exams and schools and looking after the generations of the future,” the minister said.

The minister said that he reiterated his support to all teachers and educators “as they put the incidents past them and move forward”.

“Every incident will be investigated and we will not hesitate to take appropriate action,” he said.

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