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Inquiry over lost artworks

Ireland. The Irish education minister Niamh Bhreathnach has ordered an independent inquiry into an exam blunder which cost a number of students college places last autumn.

The disappearance of craftwork submitted by 49 students from 29 schools greatly embarrassed the minister who has apologised to the students and their families.

The pottery, jewellery, calligraphy, screenprints and other objects were worth a quarter of the marks awarded for art in the leaving certificates of students.

However, not only did the objects go missing but nobody spotted the fact that marks had not been awarded for that section of the exam. Some of the students paid for a re-check of their grades but the error still remained undetected.

The persistence of one student finally prompted the ministry to investigate further and discover the error. The entries for all 11,000 students taking the art exam last June were then checked.

When the extent of the problem was realised teachers were consulted, and the results of 46 out of the 49 students were upgraded. However, this came too late for eight students who would otherwise have secured places in colleges last autumn.

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