High School Students protest in Alexandria (Photo: Ahram Arabic news website)
Egypt’s police used teargas on Monday to disperse hundreds of high school students who protested in downtown Cairo against the education ministry’s decision to cancel and postpone the end-of-year standardised Thanaweya Amma exams after earlier versions were leaked.
Online videos showed students being chased away by the police.
The angry students demanded the dismissal of education minister El-Hilali El-Sherbini as well holding ministry officials responsible for the current spate of online exam leaks, chanting chanting "You leak the exams, see how many students' dreams are destroyed".
Students also demanded the cancellation of the current grading system used by high school students in Egypt to apply for university and rejected the ministry's Thursday decision to postpone the remaining Thanaweya Amma exams to July to avoid further leaks.
Meanwhile, families of high school students organized a rally to the House of the Representatives in Downtown Cairo.
A parallel protest was organized at the same time in Alexandria by high school students against the education ministry at the Alexandria Bibliotheca. Students also protested in Mansoura, Tanta, Ismailia and Sharqia.
Monday's protests marked the second day in a row that high school students gathered to protest against the ministry of education and its current minister.
The education ministry spokesperson Bahsir Hassan told the media that the ministry had to cancel the applied math exam to achieve justice among students.
"We are facing a [group] that defies all state institutions, not only one or two people," Hassan said, expressing his sympathy with the high school students and their families.
Refusing to hold the ministry of education responsible for the exams leaks, Hassan said that state institutions vowed to defeat the group responsible for leaking the exams.
On Sunday, Egypt's Prosecutor general referred the case of the high school exams leaks to High state security prosecution for further investigations.
Earlier this month, security forces arrested a number of Facebook pages administrators for allegedly leaking the exams.
An investigation by the general prosecution also revealed that one of the officials at the ministry's printing house was allegedly responsible for the leak and is currently detained pending investigation.
Despite the recent arrests in the controversial case, several Facebook pages are still leaking the exams. This year marks the fourth year in a row exams and answers have been leaked online.
While the applied mathematics exam was the last to be leaked this year, the Arabic, French, Spanish, English, economics and religion exams and model answers were also leaked on Facebook.
Grades from the Thanaweya Amma exams determine students' university prospects and thus are often a source of stress and pressure for students and families alike.
Around 600,000 students are sitting for the exams this year.