Education Minister Dr Hamed Al-Aazmi

KUWAIT: A high school student was arrested yesterday after attacking a school principal in protest after he was barred from taking his finals for cheating, in yet the latest incident of angry reactions to unprecedented tough control measures taken at examination halls around Kuwait this year.

The Ministry of Education had taken extra measures to prevent cheating in this year’s finals in public schools, including tougher penalties against students caught cheating. In that case, a student is barred from taking all of his finals even if they were caught cheating in one test. In the past, a cheating student would only fail the subject of the test they were caught cheating on.

The new measures were widely met with anger among students, whose protests – including sit-ins outside the ministry’s building – have failed to convince officials to reconsider what they believe are ‘harsh punishments’, while some incidents turned violent as several cases were reported of control personnel being physically and verbally assaulted by students caught cheating.

Legal measures have been taken against the student who assaulted the head of the final exams’ committee at Haroun Al-Rasheed School in Dhaher on Monday, the Interior Ministry’s relation and security media department announced yesterday. The department said misdemeanor case number 83/2018 was filed against the student, who was immediately arrested and handed to the police. Moreover, the Interior Ministry announced that police patrols were stationed outside all schools to fight any negative phenomenon and enforce the law.

Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Dr Hamid Al-Azmi reassured on the school principal’s health following the attack. Azmi assured the ministry’s keenness on preserving the dignity of teachers and that it will continue further investigating the case of Hashim Al-Hashemi, head of the high school, who was attacked by a student while supervising the final exams.  In a statement to KUNA yesterday, Azmi condemned the recent incident that occurred involving the Ministry of Education’s employees.

He stressed persistence by the Ministry in dealing with this type of case by protecting the rights of its employees, making sure that any verbal or physical attacks upon any of the educational body or students will face legal consequences.  The Minister revealed that surveillance cameras have been setup to help in the exam monitoring process to eliminate any doubt when it comes to dealing with these types of cases, while also monitoring any acts of cheating.  This procedure is to create a calm and comfortable environment for the educational body and students during final exam sessions, said Azmi. He praised efforts exerted by all staffers in this regard.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun