The House on Thursday passed legislation scrapping mid-term exams at public high schools while keeping one final exam at the end of the academic year which will carry a 30 per cent weighting on the overall score.

The amendment passed with 27 votes for, 12 against and one abstention.

The new regulations – introduced as a ‘reform’ of the secondary school education system – also specify which classes will be part of the final examination at each grade in high school.

For the first grade, the number of classes included in the final exam are reduced from four to two – the idea being to ease the transition of pupils from primary school to high school.

The changes are intended to move away from the current system where assessment heavily relies on exams.

Proponents said abolishing the exam in January would save useful educational time. The syllabus does remain divided into two semesters, so pupils will be graded in January and May.

The end-of-year main exam will count for 30 per cent toward the overall score, while the score given for performance in each of the two semesters will count for 35 per cent.

In remarks in parliament, Disy MP Giorgos Karoullas said the changes mimicked systems used in schools abroad. But, he added, the necessary preparation had not been done to ensure this would work for Cyprus.

He said his party was still concerned about how the syllabus and the exam material don’t overlap in the new system.

Akel had an entirely different take, with Christos Christofides welcoming the changes.

“Today, we have the end of the crime in education which had ‘killed’ the learning process, caused stress and led to private tuition on the side, and which had turned schools into a rote-learning exercise rather than a place promoting skills, synthesis, analysis and creativity.”