Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Algeria shuts down internet to prevent cheating during high school exams

Image via RTE         Algerian exam centre Image via RTE Algerian exam centre
Kayla Schwartz | 23 June, 2018, 22:44

The blackouts will be enforced from 20-25 June.

The drastic move comes after questions were leaked online before and during exams in 2016.

Nouria Benghabrit, Algeria's education minister, told Algerian newspaper Annahar that Facebook also would be blocked across the country through the entire week of exams, the BBC reported. Benghabrit reportedly said they are "not comfortable" with their choice to shut down all internet service, but that they "should not passively stand in front of such a possible leak".

The whole nation of Algeria went offline on Wednesday for the start of high school exams, the first in a series of internet blackouts to stop the possibility of students cheating.

Over 700,000 Algerian students are to take their high school diploma exams over the next week. Ethiopia undertook a similar measure previous year after activists published the university entrance exam online in 2016, according to the Guardian, while Iraq shut off internet access for a few hours in 2015 and 2016 to coincide with sixth-grade national exams.

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For starters all devices with internet access, including mobile phones and tablets, have been from the country's 2,000 exam centres. Ethiopia undertook a similar measures previous year after activists published the university entrance exam online in 2016.

Last year, the authorities tried to stop it by shutting down social media access - but that was not thought to be tough enough.

The restriction of internet service during the period of the exams ends next week.

Ms Benghrabit also said surveillance cameras and mobile phone jammers had been installed at exam printing presses.

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