Iraq postpones ninth-grade math exams after questions leaked 

The exams are postponed “until further notice,” the ministry said. 
author_image Kurdistan 24
Iraqi students taking exams in a classroom, Jan. 31, 2016. (Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP)
Iraqi students taking exams in a classroom, Jan. 31, 2016. (Photo: Safin Hamed/AFP)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi Ministry of Education decided to postpone mathematics examinations across the federally-administered schools for ninth-graders on Thursday after the test questions were leaked on social media, according to a statement. 

The exams are postponed “until further notice,” the ministry said. 

The decision was made after several social media pages disseminated the questions widely.

The ministry formed a fact-finding committee to look into the matter and announced that it has already found some “leads” regarding the leak, which it said was done for “cheap and despicable” reasons. It said it would refer the perpetrators to the judiciary once the investigations are finalized. 

The security agencies have taken part in the investigations, it added. 

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi also formed an investigation committee and vowed to punish anyone or entity involved in the matter.

The standardized questions for the ninth-grade classes in the central and southern Iraqi provinces are prepared by a special committee of the Ministry of Education. (The Kurdish Ministry of Education prepares examinations in the Kurdistan Region.) 

The Iraqi parliament’s education committee and integrity commission held an “urgent meeting” on the fiasco, the state-run Iraqi News Agency reported. 

The Integrity Commission formed its own fact-finding committee on Tuesday to investigate claims that the questions for ninth-grade English language tests had also been leaked, state media said. 

The lack of surveillance cameras inside the education ministry’s stores, where the exam papers are kept, was an issue previously raised by officials in the integrity commission. 

Internet access is blocked nationwide during exam times in Iraq to prevent cheating. In previous years, NBC reported that Facebook groups were created to share the exam questions for as little as $9 paid to anonymous users.