After the start of the Abitur examinations had to be completely postponed for the first time in North Rhine-Westphalia, NRW School Minister Dorothee Feller (CDU) is under considerable pressure. On Wednesday, the CDU politician expressly apologized to the around 30,000 high school graduates affected, as well as their parents and teachers at around 900 schools. She knows what the short-term decision in the middle of the exam preparations means. “That is really annoying.”

Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) also admitted on Twitter: “It must not happen that the Abitur exams in NRW have to be postponed – no matter what the reason is”. On behalf of the state government, he apologized to all those affected.

On Tuesday evening, at 8:32 p.m., the Ministry of Education sent an email to the school management that the Abi exams in the subjects biology, chemistry, nutrition, computer science, physics and technology had to be postponed from Wednesday to Friday. According to the ministry, downloading the tasks, which was activated nationwide from 12 p.m., only worked in about 300 out of 900 schools. Around 30,000 high school graduates are affected.

The problems were possibly related to the fact that the schools needed two-factor authentication to download the tasks for the first time, the ministry said in the evening. IT security should be increased with the procedure that customers are also familiar with, for example, from banking transactions. The additional security level has now been deactivated again. The schools could now download the tasks for the next Abitur exams again using the technology used in previous years. There were no further problems on Wednesday. The schools could have downloaded all the tasks for the central Abitur exams this Thursday without any problems.

From Feller’s point of view, the Abi debacle is no reason to resign from the black-green cabinet after just under ten months in office – as suggested by the Young Liberals. “Someone has to make sure that it works now,” she answered the question.

What about the next downloads?

But can she guarantee that for the other 20 downloads of Abitur tasks, which according to her house are still necessary? “We all want that – especially for the high school graduates,” Feller replied. “But in these times I can’t guarantee that.”

Her ministry announced on Twitter on Wednesday that the next examination date in other subjects would be observed on Thursday. The download of the written Abitur assignments for the exams on Thursday (April 20) “is going smoothly,” it said. The exams could “take place as planned”.

According to Feller, the download heart attack had already announced itself in her ministry shortly after 2 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon. Pupils’ and teachers’ associations as well as the opposition accuse her of a lack of communication.

The minister offered Muslim schoolchildren an alternative date in May because of the sugar festival. “Those who do not want to take part in the exams because of the festival can do so after prior consultation with the school management on May 9th.”

It will be checked whether there should be new Abitur tasks on Friday. There is currently no specific reason for this, said a specialist from the ministry. “We assume that the tasks are not burned.”

Since the introduction of the central Abitur in NRW in 2007, major and minor glitches have repeatedly made the headlines and sometimes also caused replacement tasks and rewriting appointments. The so-called octahedron of horror had previously triggered the most violent whirlwind, which had presented the 2008 high school class with almost unsolvable math problems. Result: All those affected were allowed to rewrite the exam.

Several teachers’ associations called for a trouble-free Abitur to be ensured. Feller assured that work is now being done at full speed to ensure that this remains the only disruption in the 2023 high school diploma.