Saturday, June 23, 2018

In order to prevent cheating in high school diploma exams, the Algerian government ordered a series of two-hour nation-wide internet blockades, starting on Wednesday, reports from tech giant Oracle and Agence France-Presse confirmed.

Per the blockage, neither the cellular nor the wired data connections are to provide internet access during the exam hours. Social networking website Facebook has been blocked for the entire period. More than 500 thousand students had to appear for re-examination in June 2016 after question papers were leaked on Facebook. During the re-examinations, there were partial bans on Facebook and Twitter, and during that month, multiple employees working at the education ministry and the exam printers were arrested on suspicion of leaking the exams.

CCTV cameras have been installed at the locations where the exam question papers are printed, and metal detectors have been installed in over 2000 exam centres. According to various reports, around 700 thousand students are due to take the exams, whose results are expected to be declared a month later from July 22. Electronic gadgets are banned from the exam centres.

National education minister Nouria Benghabrit said the decision for the nation-wide blockade was “not comfortable” for the ministry, but it “should not passively stand in front of such a possible leak.” According to internet service provider Algérie Télécom, the move was “aimed at ensuring the high school diploma tests run smoothly.”

Other countries including India and Iraq also have a record of using internet blackouts as preventative measures against cheating during exams.

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