Prime Minister Sherif Ismail vowed to take all necessary legal measures to halt organized cheating in schools, after a number of people were arrested for leaking Egypt’s Thanaweya Amma high school examinations.
On Tuesday, the webpage of the Ministry of Education quoted Ismail emphasizing the need “to develop official systems in place for examinations in the near future, especially in light of recent technological developments, to confront abuses and attempts at online cheating.”
“The strictest punishment will be imposed on any individual involved in the leaking of examination [material], both those within and outside the education system,” the prime minister stated.
On Sunday, the state-owned Middle East News Agency (MENA) reported that two 20-year-old men were arrested in Giza on Sunday, after the Ministry of Interior’s cybercrimes division discovered they were administrating a Facebook page dubbed, “Chao Ming Helps Thanaweya Amma Students Cheat.”
Egyptian authorities have not yet taken down the page, which reportedly includes both the questions and answers to this year’s Thanaweya Amma exams.
The state-owned Al-Ahram news portal reported on Monday that another Facebook page, “In Cheating We Have Come Together,” is also being used to leak exams. Police officers told the state-owned Al-Ahram newspaper that the father of a student suspect from Shubra al-Kheima allegedly confessed that his son would leak examination material in exchange for money.
On Monday, Al-Ahram also reported that 12 officials from the Ministry of Education, some of who were employed at the ministry’s printing press, were arrested pursuant to prosecutors’ claims that they were involved in leaking exams. The ministry officials will be held in pretrial detention for 15 days pending investigations and have been charged with “intentionally harming the interests of the ministry,” along with leaking Thanawaya Amma examinations.
More officials may be summoned for questioning in light of the charges, the state-owned news outlet reported. The Ministry of Education warned last week that any individual involved in organized cheating could be fined up to LE50,000.
An estimated 560,000 students will sit their Thanaweya Amma final exams across Egypt this year.