Algeria has turned off its internet nationwide during high school exams in a bid to tackle cheating. Blackouts will continue throughout the exam season, till June 25. Internet service, both mobile and fixed line, is to be off for an hour after the start of each high school diploma exam to stop any leaks, the BBC reported.
The move follows widespread cheating in 2016, with questions leaked online before and during tests. As a result, the authorities asked internet service providers to stop social media access in 2017, but the voluntary measures were not enough.
Education Minister Nouria Benghabrit told Algerian newspaper Annahar that Facebook would be blocked across the country throughout the entire period from June 20-25. Benghabrit said while they are “not comfortable” with the decision, “we should not passively stand in front of such a possible leak”.
Additionally, all electronic devices with internet access – for both students and school staff – have been banned from the country’s 2,000 exam halls, with metal detectors set up at their entrances, the BBC said.
Benghrabit also said surveillance cameras and mobile phone jammers had been installed at exam printing presses. Just over 700,000 students will sit the high school certificate examinations over the next week, with results expected from July 22.