Serbian Eighth graders protest Education Minister offers to resign

Serbian Eighth graders protest Education Minister offers to resign

Serbian Eighth graders protest Education Minister offers to resign Izvor: N1

Eight grade pupils from several elementary schools in Belgrade protested in front of the Ministry of Education on Tuesday, following the decision to postpone their maths test after the test questions were leaked.

The pupils said they want to be allowed to enrol in high schools without taking the three part exams required to enrol in high school. They also called Education Minister Mladen Sarcevic to resign. The minister responded to calls for his dismissal telling Danas daily that he sees no reason to do so. He later told the Serbian state TV (RTS) that he had offered his “bosses” his resignation.

Sarcevic did not want to comment the situation with the final exams when phoned by N1, saying that he is not desirable on the station. Sarcevic walked out of last week’s Crvena Linija talk show on N1 when asked about a protest at a Belgrade high school.

 Under Serbian law, elementary school pupils take final exams (maths, Serbian or minority language and a combined multiple-subject test) before enrolling in high schools based on their test results and on their grades in the last four years of elementary school.

The children staged a sit-down in front of the ministry before a protest march and called for a fresh protest on Wednesday at 1:00 pm. They said they would show up at their schools at the time scheduled for their next exam but would not take it. A delegation of parents were told that there is no one in the ministry who an talk to them about the problem.

Eighth grade pupils also protested in the cities of Kragujevac and Nis, making the same demands as their fellow pupils in Belgrade

The Serbian Director of Police Vladimir Rebic said later that the protesting pupils threw eggs at police officers, saying that assault was impermissible and adding that the police officers did not deserve to be humiliated.

In a related development, prosecutors questioned the mother of a Belgrade eighth-grader who had a copy of the math test that was leaked. Minister Sarcevic told Danas daily that the police and Security Information Agency (BIA) were conducting an investigation and had narrowed the investigation down to 15 schools in five cities.

Sarcevic said that three women were involved in copying the test at a school in Zemun and sending to a person engaged in the media.  

Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic said that he would be launching proceedings within his powers against the Education Ministry, a press release said.

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