The House education committee will meet urgently on Monday to discuss the results of the newly introduced twice-yearly exams at lyceums amid fury from parents and students over the poor results they say put their university ambitions at risk.

The decision was taken by MPs during the committee’s regular meeting on Wednesday. Acting committee president Chrysanthos Savvides said the education and health ministries would be invited to attend to discuss the exam results, and the situation in the schools as a result of the pandemic.

There had been calls for the new exams to be shelved amid concerns over students’ performance due to the disruption caused by the pandemic.

But the education ministry dug in, insisting that lyceum and technical school students take the exams, and arranging for three separate sittings to cater for those who could not take them because they had coronavirus or were contacts.

The Cyprus News Agency said that the poor results had sparked protests from organised parents worried about the implications for students applying to university this year.

“Having heard the concerns parents, students and teachers, the committee has asked to be briefed about how the twice-yearly exams were adopted, what the results were and whether targets have been met,” Savvides said.

Whether mistakes had been made, and whether improvements can be introduced to the organisation of the exams needs to be reviewed, he added. “We will try to find a solution to the problem that is of concern to students at this given moment.”

Akel MP Christos Christofides was less diplomatic. He said that there had been a flood of complaints from parents deeply unhappy with the results which have victimised thousands of children.

Christofides said his party had warned that introducing twice-yearly exams was not only misplaced, but that insisting on carrying them out under current conditions with gaps in learning due to students and teachers away from school with Covid, would lead to what he described as “a tragic result”.

Despite the warnings, the minister and Disy had disagreed with serious repercussions on children seeking a place at a European universities on the strength of their high school diploma, he added.