SINGAPORE – Imagine having to retake an examination two months after the original test because the answer scripts have been lost. That is what has happened to 31 students from the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS).
In what may be the first incident of its kind, these mass communication students were told to re-sit for a multiple-choice-question (MCQ) paper tomorrow because the scripts for the original paper, which they took on Oct 9, had been “inadvertently disposed”.
In a letter dated Nov 30, the private school told the students that Oklahoma City University (OCU) – its partner university in the Mass Communications Programme – had advised MDIS that the students should re-do the paper, “failing which it would be difficult for the university to assess and award marks for the MCQ component”.
No marks will be awarded for the MCQ component on research methodology should students fail to turn up for this re-sit, according to the letter, a copy of which MediaCorp had obtained.
A 20-year-old student said it was a “frustrating” situation, especially since they were given “such short notice” – three weeks to prepare.
When contacted, an MDIS spokeswoman confirmed the incident and said it was an “administrative lapse, and we’re in contact with the students to address the matter”.
“Only a small number of students are affected. We’ve taken measures to avoid such an incident from happening again. We’re working toward the best interests of our students to ensure they won’t be disadvantaged in any way,” she added.
It is believed that MDIS will speak today to the full-time, final-year students, the majority of which are foreigners, to get feedback on how best to help them.
One student wondered if this was too late. “We spent nine days in September preparing for the paper under the guidance of OCU lecturers, but now have to re-do the exam without any refresher lessons,” said the 19-year-old.
MDIS did not say how the papers could have been lost. From speaking to other schools, MediaCorp understands that exam papers are sent to partner universities usually via courier. Some schools also scan the original scripts as a back-up. It is not known what precautions MDIS had in place.
According to the OCU website, MDIS began partnering the university in 1992 to provide Singaporean students with a mass communications education at the undergraduate and graduate levels.
The courses here last up to two years and consist of 13 modules. Lessons include those on news gathering and writing, television scripting and production, and advertising and public relations campaigns.