Minister demands sackings over exam leak
The alleged leaking of national examination papers to senior staff at Vaimea Primary School has infuriated the Minister of Education who is calling for a teacher and a Principal at the school to be sacked.
The Samoa Observer learned that the contents of primary-level national standardised tests were allegedly improperly obtained by a senior staff member at the school, potentially giving them an unfair advantage when preparing students to sit the test.
“I only found out when you [the Samoa Observer] contacted me about this, and preliminary findings points to [a] teacher and [the] Principal of the Primary School,” the Minister, Loau Keneti Sio, told this newspaper on Friday.
The examinations involved in are understood to include the Samoa Primary Education Certificate of Achievement (S.P.E.C.A.) and the Samoa Primary Education Literacy Levels (S.P.E.L.L.) examinations for levels 2, 4, 6 and 8.
When the Samoa Observer first contacted Loau for comment on Thursday he said he would make further inquiries into the matter but was not then aware of any such allegations.
But on Friday the Minister confirmed the exam papers had been leaked and he said he was expecting those involved to face serious consequences.
“An internal investigation (which I was not aware of) has been concluded and the internal audit has made recommendations for the Teacher and the Principals to hand in their resignations," he said.
"I don’t agree. This is a serious matter and termination of services is warranted in this matter."
According to the Minister the examination papers were leaked by one of the test's examiners.
“Now this examiner is married to a teacher at the Vaimea and she [allegedly] accessed a thumb drive that had the examination papers and that’s how it was leaked," he said.
"This is an insult to the integrity of the Ministry and I have zero tolerance for such misconduct".
Loau said there was no room in the education system for underhanded behaviour.
“I am now waiting on an official response from the [Ministry's] C.E.O. Afamasaga on her final recommendation but termination should be the answer to this misconduct,” he said.
"These examinations are required to determine how the student is doing academically.
“And yet they’re cheating the system and I don’t know how that will help the students.”
But Loau said the students will not be required to retake the test.
“I will not put these students under pressure for the mistakes of others," he said.
The Samoa Observer sought comment from Vaimea's Principal, Tonu'u Fuamoli Misi, but as of press time these requests had not been returned.