Egypt to form independent committee to investigate high school student's allegations

Ahram Online , Tuesday 1 Sep 2015

Student claims her failure to get any marks in her exams is suspicious

Thanaweya Amma (High School) student Mariam Malak (Photo: Ahram)

Egypt's prime minister Ibrahim Mahlab has asked justice minister Ahmed El-Zend to form an independent committee to investigate the case of a Thanaweya Amma (High School) student who received zero marks in all her summer exams, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported on Tuesday.

Mariam Malak, a student from the southern governorate of Minya, is accusing education ministry officials of swapping her answer sheets with those of other students as "she refuses to believe she failed to correctly answer all of the questions in all of the seven subjects she was examined on." She sandals added she has had an excellent academic record over the previous years.

However, the ministry rejects Malak's claims, saying that forensics had matched the handwriting on the exam papers to hers.

"We took the accusations and complaints filed by the student with full concern," said the education minister in a press conference on Tuesday. "However, after reviewing her records we know her claims are false and her accusations of us rigging her results are unfounded," he added.

"The forensics authority confirmed that this is her handwriting so her claims that her papers were exchanged or replaced by those of other students are wrong," he added.

"However, we will not resort to any legal action against her even though her accusations are false."

Malak's case garnered media attention over recent weeks as many citizens, activists and social media users shared their sympathy with her.

The Thanaweya Amma exams are highly competitive tests that have been marred in the past by recurrent cheating and the untimely leaking of exam papers.

Parents often spend thousands of pounds on private tutors to ensure their children will get into a top university to study medicine, engineering, pharmacology or political science. Students are currently offered places in public universities based on their exam grades, and according to which grades each institution requires.

In this year exams, Minister of Education, Moheb El-Rafei, announced a 79.4 percent success rate. This year's success rate is 2.5 percent higher than last year as 76.6 percent of those who took the tests passed. The success rate among boys was 77.5 percent and among girls 80.9 percent.

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