Thousands of German Students Protest ‘Unfair’ English Exam

Because of the Abitur’s importance to students’ future careers, however, the protest and petition had a tinge of panic and frustration.

The petition, 991 words long and divided into four points, was cast as an open letter by the test sitters to the ministry of culture, youth and sports in Baden-Württemberg. But many others signed it out of solidarity. One commenter, A.K. Mohan, declared: “I’m signing because I, too, will soon be doing my Abitur.”

An independent expert panel commissioned by the state to evaluate the exam after the petition gathered steam found it to be of reasonable difficulty, and warned students to wait to see their marks, which will be released on June 18.

Thousands of German Students Protest ‘Unfair’ English Exam
Thousands of German Students Protest ‘Unfair’ English Exam

“There is no need to worry,” Susanne Eisenmann, the state minister responsible for secondary education, said in a statement. “I advise peace and serenity.”

One of the region’s top linguists, Bernd Saur, also had advice for the students, according to the BBC: “I urge the pupils to await their results — nobody’s going to get a whacking.”

Recently, Germans have taken to deploying online petitions to express anger and force officials to justify seemingly routine practices.

Last month, the city of Hanover faced a crises when nearly 300,000 people signed an online petition to save a dog that had killed two people. Petitioners blamed the dog’s surroundings, not the animal itself, for the deaths. The city put down the dog, but faced protests and media scrutiny partly resulting from the petition.

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