Non-Muslim students’ grades ‘miscalculated’ in nationwide exam

Non-Muslim students’ grades ‘miscalculated’ in nationwide exam

Gamze Kolcu - ANKARA
Non-Muslim students’ grades ‘miscalculated’ in nationwide exam

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The grades of a nationwide high school entrance exam will be recalculated for 371 non-Muslim students who were exempted from questions on the Islamic faith, as their scores on the religion section of the exam were calculated as zero, which lowered their overall grade, Turkish Education Ministry sources told daily Hürriyet on June 30.

The administrations of all the schools that non-Muslim communities of Turkey attend along with their parents have put applications in to the Education Ministry over the erroneous calculation of the grades of the Transition from Primary to Secondary Education (TEOG) exam, except the Ulus Private Jewish Elementary School in Istanbul, the sources said.

The sources also said the exemption from the religion section of the exam had been either not stated or booked as incomplete in the first two sitting of the TEOG for 371 non-Muslim students in Turkey. The reason for the inconvenience was the information of non-Muslim students was booked either incorrect or untimely in the online schooling system of the ministry, they added.

“At the time of the exam, the information of [non-Muslim] students had been booked either incomplete or untimely. That is why we sent [non-Muslim] students exam booklets. The grades have been miscalculated as we had biased information on the exemption issue. We will recalculate the grades of the exam for 371 [non-Muslim] students,” the sources said.

Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin said, in response to claims of a miscalculation of the grades of non-Muslim students, later on June 30 that the ministry had no applications in place on the matter, but the Education Ministry Data Processing Department had received several phone calls from parents who heard of the rolling news from media outlets. “The ministry’s Measurement, Assessment and Exam Services Directorate has launched an inquiry [into the claims] and we will not treat anybody unjustly,” he said.  

Tekin also said the exemption from a study course as well as from its exams was ensured with a written statement by students.

“Upon the approval of the written requests of the students, they can be seen as ‘exempted’ in the online schooling system of the Education Ministry. We can further the process for the students whose applications for exemption are approved. If there are students whose applications are not evaluated, this mistake can be fixed. Otherwise, there is nothing to be done,” he added.

The claims came less than a week after an Ankara court issued a ruling on June 26 to cancel question no.11 in the English section of TEOG’s D Booklet, which had been subjected to a lawsuit filed by an exam taker’s parent, who claimed the question was incorrect. The lawsuit filed has suspended the school registrations for more than a million students in the country as the Education Ministry authorities postponed the announcement of the results that had previously been set to be declared on June 24.

The ministry said in a written statement on June 29 that the 12th Administrative Court declared question no.11 in the English section of the D Booklet as void and the replies of all students to that question were deemed correct, adding “the overall scores of 1,287,947 students were reevaluated.”