Online test leaks 'hard blow' to Egypt's education system

Zeinab El-Gundy , Thursday 12 Jun 2014

Online pages providing answers to some of Egypt's most important school tests are billed as challenges to a 'corrupt and stupid' system

Students were eagerly awaiting the results of the exams. Above, two students in Cairo. (File Photo:Reuters)

Yet another batch of tests and their answers for Egypt's General Secondary (Thanaweya Amma) exams have been leaked online, the fifth in total since the important testing period began on Sunday for nearly half a million of the country's high school students.

Early on Thursday, the economics exam and its answers found its way to social media sites while students were still sitting for the exam.

The exams for Arabic, English and religion for both the one-year and two-year systems were also leaked via Twitter and Facebook.

The tests are some of the most important for Egyptian students, as their results determine university prospects and are thus a source of great panic and concern for families, many of whom pay large sums for private tutoring in each subject.

So naturally the leaked tests have created an online buzz – hashtags for the exams and answers have been the top trends nationwide, even competing with those for the World Cup. Thousands of students have used the hashtags to get daily answers for the different tests.

One Facebook page publishing the exams and answers – "Chao Ming cheats the General Secondary Exams" – has gotten more than 38,000 fans alone, with most of the comments in favour of the leaks.

The administrators of the page say what they're doing is not about cheating but rather fighting a "corrupt and stupid education system", as they wrote on the Facebook site.

"We consider this a challenge until the education system in Egypt is fixed," they wrote, adding that they are thinking about also leaking test answers next year, including those for the primary and preparatory stages.

For Kamel Mogaith, a prominent education expert, the leaks are a "hard blow" to not just the exams but the whole system.

"It's true that the Egyptian education system is a failed one," he told Ahram Online. "We put tons of data into students' mind, which they can easily get from the internet, instead of developing their skills. The whole system needs to be changed."

A source in the interior ministry told Al-Ahram's Arabic news website that the "Chao Ming" administrators responsible for posting the exams had been arrested as part of a campaign targeting all such Facebook pages.

However, the "Chao Ming" page is still up, with exams and answers, as are others. The "Chao Ming" administrators say that another identical page will appear if the original is closed by authorities.

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