The Pancyprian Federation of Parents’ Associations on Tuesday asked for the results of the first cycle of the twice-yearly exams held in January to be invalidated, citing results “that can only be described as tragic.”

The introduction of the exams was accompanied by a myriad of protests across the country, with parents threatening to shut down schools.

“Considering the tragic nature of the results, the federation will address the new president of the Republic and the new education minister,” its head Loizos Constantinou told the Cyprus News Agency.

“It is unacceptable for both students and parents to have to deal with mistakes made by the previous administration.

“Our children should not be wronged by the incompetence of those who had the responsibility to help and protect them and failed to do so.”

The election is over. We expect that, with the assumption of the duties of the new Minister of Education, he/she will IMMEDIATELY proceed with the abolition of the exams and the substantive discussion on a New Student Evaluation System. There is NO time. Stop making us guinea pigs!

Since their introduction, the twice-yearly exams have been slammed by students, parents and teachers while Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou has said they “provide for a unified evaluation system.”

Last December, Prodromou said that the system has been implemented successfully as it has been running for three years. In January it was the first time Cyprus-wide exams were taken by children in all grades of high school.

He added that students who will perform well will continue to do so, while students who struggle at the twice-yearly exams will give the appropriate warnings to teachers and parents, giving time to deal with lapses or issues the students might be having.

Constantinou also reiterated the federation’s position, deeming the implementation of the twice-yearly exam a complete failure and asking for them to be immediately scrapped.

“The results of the exams brought nothing but dismay and only confirmed our fears and concerns. They are tragic, just as much as the consequences for the education ministry will be,” he said.

Constantinou said the decision to go ahead with the twice-yearly exams showed “unacceptable negligence and a lack of will to correct or even reduce the damage caused by the serious errors and omissions made by the education ministry.”

The entire preparation process for the exams featured suffocating schedules, excessive material in relation to the available teaching time, increased the stress, pressure and psycho-emotional strain on the children, he said.

Constantinou added that other serious issues concerned the exams’ level of difficulty and duration, as well as their grading system, “which included ambiguities and omissions.”

“The result of all these factors constitute a real failure, which has been confirmed by the overall marks students received all over Cyprus.

“This failure can only be attributed to the education ministry, not to the students, who should not be victimised for the mistakes made by someone else,” Constantinou concluded.