Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The test scores are in from the last and final exam at the music conservatory.

Our applicant from Martuni who was given a score of 3 out of 20 in the second test that was improperly administered, with many applicants in her test room turning in practically blank papers, but received passing scores, received 17 out of 20 on the final test.

An hour and thirty minutes were allowed to complete the final test, which our applicant completed in 30 minutes, leaving the room with others still trying to figure out where to start.

It seems that the girl that the dean deemed as weak because she received a 3 in the second test, received a very high score in the final test, proving that when a test is administered fairly and the playing field is level, those that are truly strong do get their just reward.

As for the other two applicants, the stronger who scored higher on the second test, once again showed that she was the stronger of the two and was accepted, wining a full scholarship, while the other girl also was accepted, but will not attend since her family can’t afford the tuition fees.

What make this story interesting for me is that when the applications were being handed in, I spoke with the two applicants that were accepted and the one who was competing with for a full scholarship shared with me that the weaker applicant’s mother had struck a deal with a man named Voskanian (I had heard about this months earlier in Martuni from a friend of the mother’s), who has a high position at the conservatory. They agreed that the two applicants would receive an equal score, one of which would receive the full scholarship, which included a 25,000 dram stipend, the other would have to pay a tuition of $800 a year, which would be offset by the 25,000 stipend and the difference be split by the two applicants.

When the stronger of the two applicants told me this, I advised her against it and told her that if she was in fact stronger, then she should take the tests as they are administered and in the case that the weaker won the scholarship, I would speak to the Minister of Culture to straighten out the situation.

Though the stronger of the two applicants had not yet agreed to the deal, the first test score posted reflected they had scored equally. Before the posting of the second score, the stronger applicant approached Voskanian to ask if she could speak with him, to which he told her it was too late to talk. If this was an indication that a deal had been struck with the weaker applicant and Voskanian, I guess we will never know, as the stronger applicant’s score on the second test being much higher, would mean that she would have to fail the third and final test in order for the weaker applicant to receive the scholarship, which didn’t happen.

Now remains the option of if we will use the information we gathered this year for next years exams to make sure they are fair, or do we make an example of the dean, Voskanian and the staff at the conservatory now, to strike fear in the other educational institutions that they too could face the same fate?

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