Religion exam cancelled, Egypt's prosecution to investigate leaks

Ahram Online , Sunday 5 Jun 2016

High School students
File photo: A high school student sits for an exam (Photo: Al-Ahram)

A Giza prosecution launched an investigation into the alleged administrator of a Facebook page that leaked exams of the general secondary certificate, or Thanaweya Aama, as well as the Al-Azhar secondary certificate exams online.

According to preliminary investigations by the prosecution, a 19-year-old student was arrested in Giza on Sunday for allegedly running the Facebook page "Chao Ming leaks general secondary certificate exams."

The popular Facebook page repeatedly leaked exams over the past four years.

This year, the page released for the first time the model answers in addition to the exams.

Despite the arrest of one of its alleged administrators, the page continued to publish leaked exams and re-published a statement on why it was doing so.

"I will disappear when I reach my goal, to give teachers their rights and privileges, to cancel the current grading system for students to enroll in univserisities and to update the curriculum to a digital format, including the exams," said the admin of the Facebook page, which has received over 400,000 likes on the Facebook alone.

The general secondary certificate – essentially the latter part of high school – lasted for a period of two years before it was changed to one year in 2013, reviving a system adopted in the past.

Grades from Thanaweya Amma exams determine university and faculty prospects, and thus are often a source of pressure and stress for pupils and family alike, as they are regarded as key in determining a student’s future.

The leaking of the exams for the fourth year in a row was the top trending topic on Egyptian social media. 

Exam cancelled 

The Ministry of Education announced earlier on Sunday it would cancel the religion portion of the national secondary certificate exam after it was leaked online shortly before it was scheduled to take place.

Social media accounts circulated a leaked copy of the Arabic language exam on the first day of the Thanawya Aama.

Exam questions were being circulated online 40 minutes from the official start of the exams. Trending hashtags emerged on Twitter and Facebook concerning the leak.

This year, 560,000 students will sit for the annual examination.

Students are not allowed to use their phones during the annual examination, and following the exam leak students caught with their phones during the exam will be disqualified.

The Ministry of Education warned last week against anyone leaking the secondary certificate exam, noting that the perpetrators of any leak will be fined EGP 50,000.

This year marks the fourth consecutive year in which general secondary exams have been leaked as social media and the prevalence of smart phones has facilitated the process.

The Thanaweya Aama is the last stage of Egyptian high school education. Until 2013, the highly-competitive exams spanned two years, but afterwards were condensed into one.

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