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Our View: Hyperbole over exam leak just crude political propaganda

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The mass outrage that followed the leaking of the Modern Greek exam topics was difficult to comprehend. Had classified information been made public, putting at risk national security, the outrage would have been understandable, but making such a big fuss about leaked exam questions was out of proportion. No lives were put at risk, no unfair advantage was gained by anyone and no money was lost by the state to justify the relentless grandstanding by the opposition politicians, who did everything they could to exaggerate to significance of the leak.

All they achieved was to advertise to lack of perspective that marks public life. The education ministry was informed the topics for the Modern Greek exam for final year students had been leaked and circulated about an hour before the exam started, so orders were given to all schools to cancel the exam. New topics were set, and the exam restarted a little later. It was small glitch that was fixed within hours of being identified, without any negative consequences for the students. Yet we have heard little else from politicians and unions since the news surfaced.

On Tuesday, teaching union Oelmek and the Pancyprian Confederation of Parents’ Associations of Public Schools, issued a statement, condemning the leak, putting all blame on the education minister and demanding a full investigation as well as the punishment of all involved. Illustrating their lack of perspective, they also condemned “the tragic handling of the situation by the education minister, after leaking of the topics, the victims being the students of the third year of the lyceums at the most critical phase of their school life.”

The exaggeration did not stop there. “All the students of the third form of the lyceums, who were preparing for months now, and for the entire duration of their holidays, for these exams, were victimised.” Neither Oelmek nor the parents’ confederation, which, quite absurdly, always backs the teaching unions, explained in what way all the students were victimised. This hyperbole was crude political propaganda, which might be expected from a union that has been at loggerheads with the education minister for years, but why was the parents’ confederation also subscribing to it?

Nobody was victimised and if anything, this small glitch in the exams helped students build a little resilience and an ability to deal with a small disruption. The education ministry’s procedure for the exam was found wanting and it will be fixed, but other than this, too much was made out of very little. In reality the leak provided an excuse for unions, opposition parties and parents to attack the twice-yearly exams, the abolition of which they have been campaigning for since their introduction.

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