Tokyo’s education bureau chief apologized Wednesday for more than 2,000 cases of scoring errors on high school entrance examinations for the past two academic years, which resulted in erroneously rejecting 18 successful applicants.
“I apologize from the bottom of my heart to successful applicants who were wrongly rejected, their parents, relevant junior high school officials and the public,” Hideto Hiruma, director general of the bureau, said in front of public high school principals gathered at the metropolitan government building.
The bureau announced Tuesday it found 1,139 cases of scoring errors on high school entrance exams at 146 schools for 2014 and 1,072 cases at 109 schools for 2013 following the reinvestigation of the problem, which was first reported in April.
The reinvestigation by the bureau and schools found that 12 successful applicants were erroneously rejected at 10 schools for the 2014 school year and six applicants at six schools for 2013, due to the scoring problems.
“It’s extremely regrettable to have caused such a miserable situation, even though officials engaged in education are supposed to be deeply aware of the importance of an entrance examination, which would affect the course of children’s lives,” Hiruma said, adding the bureau and schools would address the problem with the utmost effort to a prevent recurrence.
The bureau set up a 17-member panel in May, which includes outside experts and school officials, to compile preventive measures by the end of August.
“We will conduct a thorough investigation to clarify the causes and develop drastic reform measures at this panel,” Hiruma said.
The bureau will pay compensation to the 18 applicants and cover any extra expenses incurred from opting for private schools, according to Toyohiko Kawagoe, section chief in charge of entrance examinations.
Kawagoe also said if the 18 applicants seek to transfer to the high school they originally wished to go, the bureau is ready to meet such requests.
The errors could have been caused by a tight schedule of scoring assignments, or by carelessness on the part of teachers or schools that have taken on scoring work for many years, according to hearings conducted by the bureau.
The problem first came to light at Ogikubo High School in Suginami Ward on April 10 after the school reviewed entrance exam scores for new students and found errors in eight exam papers, prompting the bureau to inspect other schools.
An inquiry conducted at 216 public high schools in April found 139 scoring errors in tests conducted at 48 schools for the 2014 school year.
The education bureau and schools conducted a further investigation on exam papers for the 2013 and 2014 academic years.