Outwitting the authorities: an epidemic of cheating in Egypt

| September 1, 2015 | 0 Comments

Early June 2015 marked the start of examination season in Egypt’s schools.

In the build-up to the exams, students log on to find ingenious new ways to conceal their cellphones – and test answers – from electronic detectors as they queue to enter testing centres. Reports http://www.al-monitor.com, on exam day, cyberspace is dominated by uploaded exam questions – and, rapidly thereafter, the answers to those questions.

Egypt’s education ministry tries annually to close down offending Facebook and Twitter sites, but students outwit it every time.

This year, at more than one secondary school, questions on the exit English, Quran, jurisprudence and mechanics papers were all leaked early via an application called ‘Shaw Ming’, which facilitates communication among students through linking their social media accounts, and sends the exam questions via a chat system. The application has five components: Twitter, LiveLeak, Facebook, Instagram and a private chat component.

These desperate measures are in vain, because it is the Supreme Council of Universities in Egypt that determines the number of students who are offered admission to public and private universities according to the number of vacant places, not according to the number of students who qualify.

In early June 2015, China also tried to root out cheating. Officials deployed drones (hi-tech radio surveillance systems) at thousands of schools in an effort to root out cheating.

Students across the country wrote the infamous gaokao, or ‘high test’, to qualify for university. For hundreds of thousands of families, success in the notoriously difficult examination can mean a way out of generational poverty.

Category: Spring 2015

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