Fifteen National Exams Leaked through Islamic School
THE HAGUE, 12/06/13 - Not just one but 15 national exams for secondary education school leavers have been stolen and distributed from the controversial Ibn Ghaldoun Islamic school in Rotterdam.
Last week, it emerged that the French exam at the pre-university VWO level of secondary education was stolen from the school's vault. Now, the Education Ministry says the same thing happened at Ibn Ghaldoun to 14 other exams.
Everywhere in the Netherlands the French exam at the VWO level was cancelled after the initial discovery two weeks ago. Some 17,000 pupils nationwide were forced to take the national exam - a new version - a day later.
Pupils across the country now worry they may have to redo their exams. But this is unlikely, as the Education Ministry says there are no indications that the 14 other exams that also disappeared from Ibn Ghaldoun were distributed to pupils of other schools.
Three persons have been arrested in connection with the theft, all Ibn Ghaldoun pupils. Police said there were no signs of a break-in. The Education Ministry however says there is no reason to believe the school management is involved.
The school management is controversial. Its director is Ayhan Tonca, a Turk who was forced to leave as a candidate-MP for the Christian democrats (CDA) in 2006 for denying the genocide by Turkey of Armenians in 1915. He also said women who do not wear a veil commit "a sin". But since 2008, he has been a member of the CDA's academic bureau and in 2010 he received a royal decoration for his 'contributions to Dutch society'.
Also, the Education Inspectorate discovered in 2007 that Ibn Ghaldoun had used government subsidies for pilgrimages to Mecca - also for Muslims who had no connection at all with the school. In total 1.2 million euros was spent on this and a series of other fraudulent constructions but the school refused to repay.
Following the French exam's theft, weblog Geenstijl.nl and other media were already speculating that there have been leaks to the pupils of Ibn Ghaldoun before because the school has made a remarkable rise on the education quality ladder of the Education Inspectorate. In fact, last year Ibn Ghaldoun ranked fourth among the Netherlands' best schools. Only a couple of years earlier it was actually threatened with closure because its pupils results and the quality of teachers and lessons were labelled "very weak".