כ"ג לחודש השני תשע"ה
Israeli public school students are required to take a minimum of six years of English as a Foreign Language, just like Americans must take a minimum number of years of a foreign language, either as a high school requirement or in order to be accepted to a university.
Yesterday was the scheduled, national, Bagrut (final) examination in English, which students from around the country take at the same time. The examinations include a listen comprehension component, which students receive via radio.
The examinations were disrupted, when it was discovered that the exams had been leaked on social media.
According to Zalmy Kinn, a friend of mine taking the exams, students found out very quickly what was going on from a Israeli Channel 2 News report.
JPost.com: Education Ministry director comes under after two more matriculation exams leaked
Hayah Goldist-Eichler, May 11, 2015
The education ministry decided to move forward with the exam and use alternate questionnaires.
Two English-language matriculation exams were leaked onto social media on Monday, hours before the exam was due to begin.
The Education Ministry decided to move forward with the exam and use alternate questionnaires.
It later announced it was extending the allotted time for the exam by half an hour.
The leak is thought to have come from an Arab village in the north of Israel.
This comes just days after two Hebrew-language exams for the Arab sector were found leaked onto social media. Those two exams were postponed to a future date.
Education Ministry director-general Michal Cohen said last week upon learning of the leaked exams that it is unfortunate that a small group of lawbreakers is hurting everyone in the system.
“These offenders are not just harming the students but the education system and society as a whole,” she said. Cohen instructed the department of examinations to hand last week’s case over to the police for investigation.
Meretz MK Esawi Frej called upon Cohen to immediately resign from her position “in view of her responsibility for the failure of the matriculation exams that is becoming more serious and widespread every day.”
Frej went on to accuse Cohen and the ministry of systemic failure to “protect the integrity of the exams.” He added that if Cohen herself does not resign, it will be Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s responsibility, in his role as current education minister, to remove her from her position and to take the necessary steps “to return the confidence of Arab society in the Education Ministry, first and foremost by investing all the necessary resources to catch the criminals and to prevent the recurrence of these incidences in the future.”
|Rabbi Shai Piron|
Ex-Minister of Education
Although criticism of director-general Michal Cohen is certainly justified, and the attempt by a Meretz MK to detract the blame from Arabs is no surprise, I would like to know why outgoing Minister of Education Rabbi Shai Piron is escaping any blame for the poor state of affairs.
This is not the first in which Arabs have been caught cheating. In a previous year, an Arab teacher was involved in leak of examinations.
Meanwhile, English teachers, on the ETNI - English Teachers Network in Israel Facebook group, have been venting the hell they had to suffer, calling it everything from "crazy" to a "nightmare and a scandal."
"So was this day crazy or what??"
"Yesterday's exam was a farce..."
"I am furious!!!!!! Today was a nightmare and a scandal! Making us fotocopy 100 exams just in order to switch the order of the questions is outrageous!!!!!"
"How pathetic was it today? T.G. we are an organised school with an amazing English staff. Our kids got the new forms within 15 minutes of being sent to us and all went smoothly with the exception of a few hiccups of C students, who understandably did not realize that question 5 did, in fact, exist. The whole thing was a total disgrace."I was also informed that many schools never even received the e-mailed replacement examinations.