Twenty-six online sites threatened to leak thanaweya amma secondary school exams before they commenced, said Education Minister El-Helaly El-Sherbiny during a meeting with the parliamentary education committee on Saturday.
El-Sherbiny said these websites were earlier monitored by the Ministry of Education.
The minister said studies were carried out to prevent electronic exam leaks, and he requested that the government suspended internet services for an hour before and after scheduled exams.
“The ministry asked that internet services be suspended for an hour before and after exams; however, we were surprised to find that this measure would be ‘illegal’. So we suggested jamming communications inside schools for certain periods, but the cost would be EGP 150m,” a state-run media outlet quoted the Education Minister as saying.
Following the recent leaks of Arabic-language and religion studies exams, outrage erupted with several pointing fingers at the Education Minister.
El-Sherbiny went to the parliament on Saturday to be questioned by a number of MPs over the leaks, according to state-run media outlets.
Meanwhile, South Cairo Court scheduled 19 June to decide whether or not to renew the detention of Education Ministry officials who were arrested for leaking exams, according to state-run Akhbar Al-Youm.
Preliminary investigations that lasted for 10 hours saw a ministry committee for preparing and formulating exams, as well as officials responsible for printing exam papers, accused of doing deliberate damage to their workplace and leaking exams by the prosecution, as reported by Akhbar Al-Youm.
Recently, South Cairo prosecution decided to imprison 12 officials who are responsible for preparing secondary school exams for 15 days pending investigations. Six of these officials were later released.
Last week, the Ministry of Education confirmed through a statement that the nationwide thanaweya amma secondary school exams were leaked on their first day, adding that it would launch an investigation into the incident.
The Arabic-language and religious studies exam papers for around 560,000 students were leaked on a Facebook page that was also the source for a similar leak last year.
The ministry’s statement said that religious studies had been cancelled until an alternative exam could be held on 29 June.
The Facebook page that leaked the exam had several demands that include abolishing the current system of applying to universities, raising teachers’ salaries, and improving their financial, social, and cultural status.
The demands further included improvement of the curriculums and the way they are taught to students, and involvement of technology in the teaching process to encourage students to study advanced materials.
The ministry’s Deputy Head of Secondary School Exams Mohamed Saad asserted that the incident, dating back to 2015, of student Mariam Malak receiving a zero mark would not occur again.
His statements came following a notification from a secondary school student in Minya, Amira Zakaria, that she was informed her Arabic-language exam answer paper is blank, despite her confirmation that she completed the exam.
Her paper will be reviewed by high-ranking ministry officials and the minister himself to assess what happened, according to Akhbar Al-Youm.