Algeria’s government made a “smart move” – in their opinion and shut down the internet on Wednesday, 20 June 2018. This move, they say, was to curb exam cheating that had become rampant during the country’s Highschool Finals Diploma exam.
The country’s internet was shut down for a total of two hours, after the government directed all telcos to cut-off internet access to ensure high school exams run smoothly, without cheating. One telco, Algerie Telecom confirmed this in a statement citing that it was complying to “instructions from the government, aimed at ensuring the high school diploma tests run smoothly.”
This is not the first time Algeria’s government is putting a nozzle on internet access during the exam period. Trouble started when in 2016, there was mass leakage of exam papers. This led to the government issuing a restriction on social media access during the exam period in 2017 but this did not stop the leaks. This led to the use of tougher methods this year.
Aside from completely shutting down the internet, the country’s Minister of Education, Nouria Benghabrit, said that all electronic devices with internet access will be banned from high school exam centres and metal detectors will be installed at the entrances of the exam centres.
Interestingly, shutting down the internet during the exam period is not unheard of in Africa. Just the other day, Ethiopia shut down internet access for a whole week during the country’s national exam. Algerians are expected to continue experiencing internet blackouts until the said exams are completed. My worry is, what happens next year if the students still manage to cheat this year?