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'Not true'- Education minister says GSAT papers were not leaked

Published:Sunday | April 22, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

Minister of Education Ronald Thwaites has disclosed that he is moving with dispatch to diffuse a potentially explosive situation emerging from lingering suspicion that test papers for this year's Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) had been leaked.

Thwaites made it clear that contrary to belief in the public domain, he has not let up on a probe into claims that the papers were leaked to an organisation which specialises in tutoring the GSAT curriculum.

According to the education minister, he is aware of the rumblings in the public domain and he is moving to bring an end to the issue ahead of the scheduled release of the results in June.

"It is not true to say that investigations have not been carried out or are not ongoing," Thwaites said in response to Sunday Gleaner queries.

No evidence

Initially, Thwaites had said no evidence of cheating was found.

But last week the education minister said, following the release of initial findings, he had sought to satisfy himself further about the accuracy of the probe by seeking to have a team carry out interviews with students who had allegedly commented to others that they had seen the test paper before.

Thwaites, who had assumed the education portfolio two months before, divulged that his concerns were piqued after the parents of these students refused to have them interviewed.

The education minister said he felt compelled to instruct that another more extensive probe be carried at another level to include the likely source of the leakage.

That exercise, he said, should be completed in another two weeks.

While that probing is taking place, the education ministry is also checking the results of students associated with the institution which has been accused of similar irregularities in the past.

"This is being done while the examination is being marked," he disclosed.

- gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com