- Former Ministry Guiselle Cruz / Photo via Ministry of Education -




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Published on Monday, November 15, 2021
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff


The Minister of Public Education, Guiselle Cruz, resigned last night after a controversial survey was included in the national test for students, known as FARO.

In addition to Cruz, Melania Brenes, Academic Vice Minister and Pablo Mena, director of Quality Management and Evaluation resigned their position.

These resignations were announced by the government in a brief statement on Sunday night. According to the government, the Vice Minister of Education, Steven González, will assume the leadership of the Ministry.
 
Cruz, said that she  feels sorry for the children who had to take an extensive survey that was included in the test, which was carried out by thousands of school students on Friday.

"As the Minister of Education, but especially as a teacher, I’m sorry that the children had to answer these quasi-questions in an extra-long time," said Cruz.

According to the Ministry, there was an error in the development (of the tests), since it was not taken into account that such an extensive test (of approximately 600 questions) was inadequate to be applied to children of 11 or 12 years old and that some questions were not elaborated properly.

In the test that the children in the fifth grade of primary school had to take, a survey of 600 questions was included. These survey requested private information about students' homes, families, the reasons why they decided to study or even if they were working or not, among several more. Most of the children should stay inside the classrooms for up to 4 hours.


The Ministry admits that it was a mistake to include this survey in the test, without the authorization of their parents. "Questions related to information on the economic situation of the students and their family's  should only be asked with the prior authorization of the family," said the Ministry of Education in its statement.

"Upon identifying errors in the application of the surveys on associated factors (of the students), I issued instructions for the immediate elimination of these questionnaires," said Cruz. "I ordered an investigation to lay down the responsibilities of the case."

According to Cruz, the information they obtained from those surveys cannot be used. And the surveys will not be included in the next students' tests.

The ministry required an advice from the Inhabitants' Data Protection Agency on this matter. This after receiving multiple complaints from parents due to the private information about their homes and income that was requested in these surveys.

To avoid the use of the information, regional directors received the order to make a record  on the destruction of the surveys since these “could mean a violation of the protection of private information of the students ( and their families)," added the Ministry.

The ministry will open an investigation to find the reasons that were used to include the survey in the student's test and find the people responsible for that. It is expected that during this week the authorities release the advance on the investigation.

The national test for school and high school students started last week. It is expected that about 70,000 school students and 7,180 private school students will take the national test.

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What have you heard about children facing problems to respond the national education test? 
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