Last year, Egyptian high school students about to sit for their final examinations that would gain them access to university found their examination questions on Facebook. The administrators of the various Facebook pages were arrested and new laws including fines and the printing of examination questions by the military were introduced. But these penalties seem not to be enough as Egypt’s education ministry is looking into the use of jamming devices on cell phones in examination centres. If this is approved, the Egyptian armed forces would be involved in its implementation.
Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had made a statement saying the examination leaks would not be repeated. The leaks angered many Egyptians who felt the government was incompetent. This led to newer measures against examination cheating to be implemented; two years to seven years in jail and a fine of $5,524 to $11,049 for anyone who prints, publishes, broadcasts, or promotes exam questions and answer by any means, an Egyptian online newspaper Al Ahram reported.
The previous penalty for examination cheating was a maximum of one year imprisonment and a fine of $2,762. The exams known as the Thanaweya Aama dictate which tertiary institutions students will attend. The exam which is taken in the final year of high school is taken by over 500,000 students.
The exams are similar to Kenya’s Certificate of Secondary Education (K.C.S.E). In Kenya, there were wide allegations of exam malpractice in 2015 which led to the Kenya National Examination Council (KNEC) cancelling the results of 5,101candidates.
In Egypt last year, there were protests by students when the ministry of education attempted to cancel the examination after the exams were leaked on a Facebook page titled “Chao Ming Cheats.” The new measures are considered quite stiff.
Social media has been a tool employed in propagating cheating in exams, thus posing a new challenge on how to tackle the situation. Examination cheating is also a major issue in Ethiopia and Algeria where social media is clamped down in an effort to stop cheating. Prior to examinations and during exams, leaked papers are circulated via Whatsapp and other platforms. This new trend has led to different countries exploring different method to tackle the issue.