(MENAFN - Jordan Times) A committee formed to investigate a report that revealed widespread cheating in the General Secondary Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) said those responsible for supervising the exam "did not fail to perform their duties and did their best to maintain the sanctity of the exam according to the law".
The committee was formed by Education Minister Fayez Saudi earlier this month after Al Ghad daily published an investigative report, prepared under the supervision of the Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism network, showing evidence of leaked Tawjihi questions and answers affecting hundreds of thousands of students whose fate is determined by the national exam.
Misaab Shawabkeh, a journalist who went undercover as a Tawjihi student as part of his investigation, said that cheating was widespread and facilitated by some supervisors, who overlooked cheating incidents inside examination halls.
Despite acknowledging that some students had used mobile phones and other methods to cheat in the exam, the committee noted that "it was not proven that any of those in charge of monitoring the exam or carry out other administrative work inside the examination halls had failed to perform his or her duty", according to a statement received by The Jordan News Agency, Petra.
The committee's findings showed that 14 students were prevented from sitting for one session due to possessing mobile phones and having them turned on, while 15 others were prevented from sitting for one exam for having phones that were switched off.
The committee said the report published in Al Ghad had been prepared by a student who sat for the exam in one of these halls and was one of the 15 who were prevented from sitting for a whole session.
Other methods of cheating mentioned in the news report included having relatives of the students enter the exam halls to help them or using mobile phones or loudspeakers to read the answers to students.
The probe committee acknowledged that some people had used loudspeakers outside examination halls to help students cheat, but said the ministry was not responsible for preventing this and that only security forces had the authority to do so.
The news report also alleged that groups of people had sold exam questions and answers with the complicity of some officials from the ministry, and that some bookshops sold small-print copies of the tests with the answers included.
The committee denied these allegations, calling on the newspaper to provide the names of the people involved in order to take the necessary legal action against them.
Members of the committee called for taking measures to prevent the use of mobile phones inside examination halls, such as using devices to interfere with reception, Petra reported.
A total of 135,104 students sat for the Tawjihi summer session and 50 per cent passed.