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MPs concerned over pandemic’s impact on new high school exams

school exams 2
File photo: Christos Theodorides

The House education committee is seeking an urgent meeting with Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou to address growing concerns over the exams scheduled every four months due to be introduced for final year high school students this academic year.

Students in the first two years of state lyceums now take exams every four months following a raft of changes which were approved in early 2019 and led to bitter divisions since then. The same procedures were due to be introduced this year for third year lyceum students.

The issues raised at the time, mainly that the exams are too frequent, have now been compounded by complications in teaching and learning following the fallout from the pandemic, the committee heard on Wednesday.

The discussions focused on students in their final year of secondary school whose results will determine key decisions in their future, such as entry to university.

Chairman of the committee, Pavlos Mylonas, said that he wants the issues resolved within ten days.

He identified the main problems as being the pandemic, the committee’s need for further information on the course material, the number of exams and issues arising from the 2017 bill.

Akel MP Christos Christofides told the committee that the final year is the most important for students and that for the past year and a half distance learning has been in place, leading to significant gaps.

He further stated that the content of the exams has yet to be finalised, when exactly the exams will take place and that there will need to be amendments made to the regulations.

Christofides urged the ministry to hear the cry of concerns for those set to be impacted, otherwise there is a real danger of an entire generation of students bearing the brunt of the situation.

In late November of 2019, secondary school pupils held strikes over the implementation of the new exam system.

It caused a spat between President Nicos Anastasiades, whose government oversaw the reform, and Akel which defended the students’ action.

 

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