High school students throughout the country sat down on Thursday for a second opportunity testing of the mathematics matriculation exam amid the added threat and stress of rocket fire.
On Wednesday the Education Ministry released a statement saying that matriculation exams would continue as scheduled according to the guidelines issued by Home Front Command. In communities located within the range of missiles, including Beit Shemesh, Jerusalem, Menashe, Emek Hefer, Sharon, Gush Dan and the Shfela region, the matriculation exam was held only in educational institutions with protected areas.
The same instructions were in place for communities located within a 0-40 km. radius, where the matriculation exam took place only in protected areas of educational institutions and according to the guidelines of the security department in the Education Ministry.
However, on the day of the exam, missiles were launched and code red sirens sounded, interrupting testing in several municipalities and adding extra strain on students, especially in the Southern region.
Shai Hajaj, head of the Merhavim Regional Council criticized the Education Ministry for not canceling the matriculation exam on Thursday. “The decision of the Education Ministry to hold the matriculation exam in mathematics today, under rocket fire, is not a wise decision and we demand you allow students to retake the exam,” he said.
The municipal parent association in Ashkelon issued a statement said it joined in Hajaj’s sentiments.
In Ashdod, Meirav Kfir, vice-principal of AMIT Mekif Yud High School recalled the experience.
“We set up the shelters and protected areas for examinations. There were students who became distressed, two female students tried to begin the exam and burst out crying and said they were unable to take the exam. Counseling and educational staff at the school helped them relax, and they did calm down and stayed until the end of the exam,” she said.
"Thank G-d there were no alarms during the exams and the students were able to concentrate and complete the test," she added.
The Education Ministry released a statement on Thursday saying that due to the security situation and testing conditions, students' grades would not be harmed.
“Any students who signed up for this exam and were unable to take it or could not be tested properly and fulfill their potential, will be able to retake the exam during a third testing opportunity, expected to take place on August 7, 2014,” the statement said.
In addition, the ministry said that any students unable to take the exam during the third testing opportunity due to enlistment to the Israeli Defense Forces will receive an "individual solution" through their school.