North Central Province Grade 8 Buddhism paper question no. 8 carried the word pramadi (hesitate to practise Damma) it should have been Appramadi (do not hesitate to practise Damma) which completely changed the meaning of the sentence.
In question 33 in the same paper the word Apawadaya (blame) was printed whereas it should have been avawadaya (advice) which distorted the meaning of the question.
Paper II of the same subject carried a question from the Sinhala syllabus and not Buddhism.
Southern Province English paper had all the answers printed on the question paper itself.
North Central Province Grade 9 Buddhism paper multiple choice questions 17, 26 and 28 did not carry the correct answers.
In the same paper question 13 carried the phrase do no wrong further whereas it should have been one does not err.
Schoolchildren sitting mid year tests from Grade Six upwards are facing a tough time trying to figure out the right and wrong in question papers which were full of blunders due to errors made by translators, officials and teachers.
In addition some schools in Colombo were burdened with the task of translating question papers from Sinhala to English and Tamil. Accordingly some schools in Colombo were sent only the Sinhala medium papers for Geography and Life Competency Education, for Grades Six to Eight and had to translate them into English and Tamil, teachers said. To facilitate this, the Sinhala paper was sent to the schools in advance thereby making it possible for the paper to leak out before the due date of the test, they pointed out.
The teachers also pointed out that as the different schools were compelled to do their own translations the standard of the paper would be compromised due to the differences in individual translations. A leading school in Colombo reported that the History paper which the English medium students too were supposed to answer in the Sinhala medium was dispatched to them in the English medium, placing the students and teachers in a dilemma. “Eventually we had to photocopy the Sinhala medium paper and give the other students as there was a severe shortage of English medium papers. We have over three classes in English medium and only 20 to 30 copies of some papers were sent by the Education Office” a teacher of a leading school in Colombo said.
Question papers given in the different provinces also had glaring spelling and other errors which resulted in changing the meanings of sentences. Part two of the Grade Eight Buddhism paper given to students in the North Central Province had included a question from the Sinhala syllabus as well. Furthermore the paper contained various grammatical and spelling mistakes which made it difficult for students to understand the questions. In the same paper there were multiple choice questions with no specific correct answers, and the paper with 40 questions had a total of seven errors. The Grade Nine Buddhism paper in the same province had 13 such spelling mistakes which made it difficult for students to answer effectively, teachers said.
In the Grade Eight Science paper sent to schools in the Central Province the same question has been repeated twice as a sub question in two different main questions. Another grave blunder was committed by the educational authorities in the Southern province where the suggested answers which are normally sent separately to the teachers were printed in the Grade 11 English paper.
The Secretary to the Ministry of Education Mr. Nimal Bandara said he cannot comment on the matter until an enquiry in this regard is held to find out what has happened. “This was brought to our notice by the JVP MP who raised the matter in Parliament. The Minister has called for a comprehensive report from all provinces reported to have had mistakes in term test papers”, he said.