File Photo: A Secondary school student takes his exam (Photo: ِAhram Gate news website)
A senior official in Egypt's Ministry of Education announced that a group of secondary students in Menoufiya governorate leaked Arabic language test of the Thanaweya Amma (general secondary) exam, held across the country on Sunday, in the latest of a series of educational exam leaks in recent years.
The head of the ministry's general department of exams, Khaled Abdel-Hakam, said photographs of the exam were published on social media halfway through the test, local news website Al-Shorouk reported.
The official said that the group of students who distributed the photographs has been identified and that necessary legal measures will be taken against them.
The ministry has been in contact with Facebook's administration about the cheating pages, which were shut down on Sunday, head of the ministry's general education department Reda Hegazy was quoted by local media as saying.
The results of the Thanaweya Amma exams, which are taken in each subject during students' final year of secondary school, determine their college destinations and courses of future study.
Over the past years, exam questions and answers for several Thanaweya Amaa subjects were leaked online, prompting officials to cancel, void or postpone some exams and to investigate possible leaks from within the education ministry.
However, Egypt’s new national high school booklet exam system was implemented in 2017 to eliminate the risk of exam leaks and reduce the possibility of errors occurring in the correction process. The new system requires students to submit their answers in the question sheet, as opposed to the previous system where answers were submitted in a separate sheet.
Egypt's parliament also approved last year amendments to a law toughening penalties for academic cheating and other exam violations, including publishing exam questions and papers and possessing mobile phones and others wireless devices in examination rooms.
Penalties for aiding in exam leaks include hefty fines of EGP 100,000-200,000 and jail terms between two and seven years.
More than 650,000 students are taking this year's tests.