I’ll start in Algeria, where the scandal of a leaked baccalaureate exam in 2016 raised controversy, prompting Algerian authorities to conduct a full investigation into the case.
The Algerian ministry of education launched an investigation into circulated reports that some parties had leaked the topics of the baccalaureate exam on social media.
Algerian media recently announced that the topics of history and geography exams were leaked on the fourth day of baccalaureate exams. Media sources reported that unidentified persons had distributed pictures of baccalaureate exam topics, and the students made sure that those topics were the same topics coming up on the baccalaureate exam, enabling them to answer the questions in advance.
The representative of the National Algerian Council for Secondary Schools Zoubir Rewina said the teachers refused to correct the leaked baccalaureate exams, and suggested re-examination in the leaked topics.
Algerian minister of education Nora Ben Gabrit announced that those who leaked the baccalaureate exams were aiming to harm the Algerian state, stressing that security is investigating into this case. Afterwards, authorities announced that they identified 31 people, including a woman allegedly responsible for leaking the exam, and she would be placed under judicial observance.
The ministry revealed that the Facebook pages involved in the leak of baccalaureate exams totalled 15 pages, in addition to 150 Facebook users, some of whom were located as being abroad.
The ministry announced the exclusion of 221 secondary students for their use of mobile phones during the exam, and prevented 907 others who arrived late to the examination centres. Accordingly, a partial re-examination of the baccalaureate exam will be held.
Meanwhile, the Algerian gendarmes arrested more than 50 people on 3 June, while 10 others were referred to investigation over involvement in leaking baccalaureate exams. Twenty employees at the Algerian national board of examination and competition as well as the assistant professors who prepared the baccalaureate questions were investigated and prevented from leaving the national territory by the public prosecutor of the associated court.
In addition, three professors, including a woman, suspected of involvement in leaking history, geography, physics, and English exams were placed under judicial observance, but the charge is not proven yet. This is what happened in Algeria.
In Israel, in May 2015, news agencies reported the following news: the Israeli authorities decided to change the English language exam for the secondary school “Bagrut”, after it was leaked on social media. Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth said that its ministry of education decided to conduct the exam with alternative questions and increased the exam time. One of the students told the newspaper that many of the students had bought the leaked exam.
That incident came about two weeks after the leak of the Hebrew literature exam at Arab schools, where the ministry then decided to cancel the exam.
What about Egypt?
I remember what the president said during his interview about monitoring attempts to demolish state institutions gradually. The demolition here does not mean the demolition of buildings, burning files, or killing staff, but the destruction of people’s confidence in them. This is a psychological war against Egypt and Egyptians. The negligence and/or corruption of one or some of those in charge of exams led to such a crime. The existence of that crime in more than one country does not justify it, but it means two things:
First, we should not lose confidence in the “institution,” even if some of its employees made mistakes.
Second, we need to benefit from the experiences of other countries in how to cope with this crime that offends the principles of allowing equal opportunities on the one hand and makes people lose confidence in the efficiency of state institutions. As long as the state itself has built these institutions, it will be also suspicious.