Over 1,500 PNG Students Accused Of Cheating In Exams

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Authenticity of university hopefuls’ exam grades disputed

By Kolopu Waima

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Dec. 20, 2012) – Students from 11 schools in Papua New Guinea have been accused of cheating during the 2012 national examinations and were consequently disqualified from being considered for tertiary education next year.

This means the schools’ grade 12 students will be overlooked during the national selectors’ conference currently underway in Port Moresby, and face an uncertain future with little or no further education prospects from next year.

More than 1,500 students will be affected by this decision by the national selectors, who opted to take this action after they were not satisfied with the authenticity of the marks submitted by the Department of Education’s measurement services unit (MSU) for their consideration.

Yesterday the MSU submitted a list containing the academic results from the 11 schools to the national selectors for their consideration, but the selectors refused and asked that the unit explain where the marks came from. According to a number of national selectors, who spoke on condition of anonymity, an official from the Office of Higher Education (OHE) submitted the list at around 4pm for their consideration.

But they refused to proceed until the MSU clarified the origins of the marks and whether they were taken from the schools’ internal or external (examination) academic results.

But the OHE official, who refused to be identified, later told the Post-Courier that the list he submitted to the national selectors was the "official list" provided to the OHE by the MSU.

A disappointed national selector from the University of Papua New Guinea (UPNG) said the MSU should provide proper advice to the OHE on whether they should assess the schools’ internal marks to avoid students missing out on tertiary studies selection.

A total of 17,035 grade 12 students from 116 schools in PNG sat for the national examinations this year with students from 105 schools considered for selection to tertiary institutions.

Pupils from the other 11 schools were not considered. Most of the 11 schools accused of cheating are based in PNG’s Highlands provinces.

This newspaper revealed yesterday that the MSU was not able to complete the marking of the 2012 grade 12 national examinations in time for this week’s national selectors’ conference, triggering concerns that any marks submitted now could be vulnerable to fraud.

The refusal by the national selectors to include the 11 schools in the tertiary education selection process is likely to attract court action by the schools and concerned parents.

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