Beshir Hassan, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, denied on Sunday that the minister proposed any plans for the suspension of internet services an hour before and after exams in response to recent leaks.
Calls for suspending internet services were one of the suggestions made to the ministry, but not an initiative taken by the ministry itself, Hassan told media outlets.
This comes in clear contradiction to Education Minister El-Helaly El-Sherbiny’s statements to the parliamentary education committee, which had summoned him for questioning.
El-Sherbiny told the committee that the ministry had specifically “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.”
Daily News Egypt made several attempts to contact the Education Ministry media office for clarification but received no answers.
The Education Ministry has been under increased pressure to take appropriate measures to apprehend those responsible for the leaks.
El-Sherbiny told the education committee that the ministry had monitored 26 websites that threatened to leak exams. In addition, over 80,000 ministry workers were searched before the start of exams.
Additionally, 12 officials from the Ministry of Education were arrested earlier this June in relation to the nationwide leak.
The Ministry of Interior also released a statement confirming the arrest of two administrators who run a Facebook page. According to the statement, the two defendants admitted that they were responsible for running the page.
The ministry has been adamant in its stance that only the religion exam was leaked on the first day of the nationwide thanaweya amma exams.
However, Facebook page ChaoMing posted images they claimed to be of the leaked english exam. The ministry disregarded the post, describing it as an attempt made by a “mafia that aims to strike against the state and the educational system”.
Several students confirmed to Daily News Egypt that the version of the exam posted by ChaoMing was in fact the version that was administered by their schools.
The leaks have incurred the wrath of many students. On Monday, tens of students gathered around the Education Ministry calling for the resignation of Minister El-Helaly El Sherbiny and an end to the current admission system, which they believe relies solely on grades rather than students’ abilities.
Among the chants at the rally were “revolution, revolution in the education system” and “they can’t run it so they’ve crushed our dreams and destroyed it”.
Additionally, the students called for a “revolution in the education system”, with one student telling Daily News Egypt that “we no longer have an education system, we have a failed one”.
Students told Daily News Egypt that the main reason the leaks occurred was due to corruption within the ministry itself. One student claimed that people with connections in the country pay bribes to ministry members to obtain exam questions early on.