The United Arab Emirates’ Ministry of Education is investigating a case of cheating by students who took photos of a Grade 12 math exam.
According to reports, photos of the exam were shared on WhatsApp. More than 5,500 members were found to be on the chat from all over the UAE, including the mothers of the students.
The leak showed that someone had managed to sneak a cell phone, despite cell phones being prohibited during exams in the examination hall.
The photo of the exam was shared within the first five minutes after the paper was distributed and it remains unclear how a student was able to bring the device into the exam.
On Thursday, the Ministry of Education said it was looking into the incident. It issued a statement on social media warning pupils against cheating.
"It is prohibited to photo-copy or share the exam paper before or after an exam through e-mail, social media or by any means"
Several students who were involved in the incident will be punished according to the code of conduct for students. They will be banned from all their third term examinations and receive a zero in all grades.
The examination proctors will also be investigated and interrogated for negligence. They may face legal charges for the offense.
The ministry had also issued a general warning on its social media handle on Instagram after the incident,
"Anyone found in violation of the ban and sharing images or information regarding the examinations will be prosecuted for their actions."
Although cheating during exams is common all over the world, the United Arab Emirates has noticed a decline in the practice in the past few years. Dr. Hamdi Al Sheibani, head of the office of academic integrity at Abu Dhabi University, said he had only noted eight cases of cheating in recent exams, a significant decline from the 30 seen last year. he b
“Those that put pressure on students with exams and encourage memorization usually turn out as the students inclined to cheat," he said. "Those students from schools like the IB curriculum, which teach that exams aren’t everything tend to be much less likely to cheat," he said.
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