Matriculation Exam Cancelled Over Paper Leak, for Second Time in a Week

The questions for the Arabic-language exam in math appeared on Whatsapp, a week after the Arabic literature matric was called off after it, too, was leaked.

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Students taking a matriculation exam at a high school in Hadera.
Students taking a matriculation exam at a high school in Hadera.Credit: Alon Ron
Yarden Skop
Yarden Skop

The Education Ministry canceled on Thursday a matriculation exam two hours before it was to take place, after its questions were leaked to Whatsapp, in the second such occurrence within a week.

The ministry notified 26,000 students Thursday afternoon that it was cancelling the Arabic-language matriculation exam in mathematics on a three-unit level shortly before it was due to be held at 6 P.M. The ministry canceled the exam in both Arab and Jewish schools, after the questions had been passed from Arab social networks to Jewish ones.

Last week the Arabic-language matriculation exam in Arabic literature was called off at the last moment following the exam form’s appearance on the Internet.

The leaked form consisted of one of three study units. The rest of the exam, which was not leaked, took place as scheduled Thursday.

The ministry’s statement said it had “found the leak in time on the Arab community’s social networks, from where it was passed to the other social networks. Leaking the exam in any language consists of a serious breach of the exams’ integrity.”

Matriculation exams in mathematics were to be held Thursday on seven question forms. Ministry officials found the leaked exam form on Whatsapp shortly before the exam was to be held and assumed it was leaked after the exam forms had been sent to the various schools.

The forms were supposed to be kept in the schools’ safes, but apparently students got hold of them, photographed them with their cellphones and distributed them on Whatsapp, officials said.

It is not clear yet whether any teachers or other school staff were involved.

Ministry director general Michal Cohen said “this is crossing a red line and we won’t take it lying down. I’ve asked the police to investigate the leak immediately, find those responsible and prosecute them to the full extent of the law.”

Cohen said the police are also investigating the leak of the matriculation exam in literature last week. “It’s regrettable that a handful of offenders is harming a large, decent body of students, teachers and education people who have worked for a long time to obtain their grades in an honest and proper way.”

Last September the Education Ministry disqualified 200 matriculation forms in mathematics in three units, taken by students from Kafr Qasem, after suspicions arose that part of the exam had been leaked ahead of time.

The ministry suspected that students had been assisted in writing the exam, possibly through their cellphone, whose use is banned during exams.

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