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The right to cheat
May 12, 2018, 4:43 pm

In a first for schools in Kuwait, or anywhere for that matter, about 150 students from local public schools gathered last week in front of the education ministry to protest the decision by Education Minister, Hamad Al Azmi, to stop the rampant practice of cheating in school examinations.

The education minister had recently passed an order to rotate the posting of high-school principals in government schools, in a bid to fight favoritism and connivance by principals that allowed some students to cheat in exams without fear of being caught or punished. In a determined bid to stamp-out the phenomena of cheating, the minister had also warned that students caught cheating in an exam would have to sit for new tests in all subjects.

The minister’s decision apparently did not sit well with some students, who along with a few youth activists and a handful of adults, gathered in front of the education ministry on Wednesday, demanding the abrogation of the ministerial decision. They called for revoking the decision to rotate principals, as well as abandoning the harsher punishment for exam cheats.

Minister Al Azmi met with the delegation of four students representing the protesters and informed them that his decision would not be revoked. He urged the students to concentrate on their upcoming exams rather than waste time protesting in wain. The minister also pointed out that the rotation of principals was purely an administrative decision, and that they, as students, had no say in it.

The minister added that the new cheating rules applied mainly to those who used various illegal methods, including mobiles, earphones and other transmitting devices, to cheat in the exams. He clarified that those students who did not cheat had no need to be concerned with the decision.

“If any student feels that he or she is not being not treated fairly, they can take up their case with the school district and even with me. I will make sure that the situation is properly addressed,” the minister is reported to have told the student demonstrators.

Despite the minister’s assurances, the students outside refused to call off the protest and claimed that the ministry was making “wrong decisions”. Some students even called on the country’s lawmakers to intercede on their behalf and demand a grilling of the minister for his wrong decisions.

The protest by the students were allegedly encouraged by some of the schools affected by the minister’s decision to rotate principals. These schools are reportedly well-known for going easy on cheating and thereby allowing academically ineligible students to pass exams. Schools with high passing figures gain the reputation of being academically and administratively successful.


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