Social Media Blocked to Curb Exam Cheating in Algeria

Juliet Eneza Media

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Exams cheating is evidently a not problem that’s unique to Kenyan education. As it is, Algeria has also been hit by the same problem that got social media ablaze with criticisms of the Education Cabinet Secretary’s proposed solution to curb cheating in schools.

More than half a million secondary school pupils are retaking their baccalaureate exams in Algeria after a major leak of the papers online earlier this month. A total of 555,177 pupils are re-sitting partial baccalaureate exams from June 19 to 22.

Algerian authorities have decided to temporarily block several social media websites including Facebook and Twitter, during the exam period, to prevent further cheating. The Social Media is being blocked from early in the morning and turned back on in the evening until the completion of the exams.

The Algerian Ministry of National Education said that all measures have been taken to ensure the smooth running of the exams. “We are working in collaboration with other sectors concerned, namely the National Police, and other concerned stakeholders”, they said.

Authorities reportedly arrested dozens of people, including officials working in national education offices and printers, earlier in June, as part of an investigation into how parts of the 2016 high school exams were leaked onto social media.

Critics are saying the move to cut social media as an easy solution. They think that better controls like putting in place infrastructure in exam centers to avoid students from accessing exams leakage should be used.

A month ago, the Kenyan Ministry of Education CS, Fred Matiang’i banned visiting days and prayer days in third term for boarding schools. These were part of measures to curb exam leakage in schools. A move which was met with wide criticism. However, there were some who were in support of the strategy.

The Algerian ministry said the unusual move was to protect pupils from “phony topics” that might appear on social media. All other parts of the internet were not affected.

Now the Algerian problem could also be tied to well-developed infrastructure. Question is, if Kenya could also be headed in that direction. Imagine the Kenyan social Media blocked due to exams. Oh well, maybe this is just my over active imagination.