Cabinet issues law prohibiting cheating on exams
A student during her exam - YOUM7 (Archive)

CAIRO: Students caught cheating on or leaking information about their final or mid-term exams could face up to a year in prison as well as fines between 20,000 ($ 2,553) and 50,000 EGP ($6,384), per a draft law agreed to by Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab Wednesday.

The law “aims at combating the breach of examination (system) and achieving the principle of equality among the students,” the statement added.

The law will be applied on proctors as well; “99 percent of leaking tests and answers have been conducted by proctors inside testing rooms,” an official from the Ministry of Education, spoke on condition of anonymity as he not authorized to speak to media, told Youm7 Wednesday.

Targeting cheaters of Thanaweya Amma

In June, almost all final exams of the Thanaweya Amma (secondary education or high schools) were leaked on social media to facilitate cheating on tests. However, a Facebook page, called Shawmeng Helps Students Cheat,claimed it used cheating on the exams to demand improvement of living standards of the low-income teachers, launching a “capabilities-based” education system, modernizing rural schools, and putting an end to labeling faculties as “top and common.”

The law has not specified a certain age for students on whom the punishment should be applied; however, Amal Goda, child rights activist ruled out that law could be applied on students of primary schools, adding in remarks to The Cairo Post Thursday “the law targets the students of Thanaweya Amma due to the latest leakage of tests and answers of final exams.

“A minor who is under 12 years old shall not be imprisoned, so it (law) should not contradict with other laws regulating children rights,” she continued.

The educational system in Egypt is “corrupted” as the proctors are the main cause of leaking the exams inside the testing rooms, Goda added, calling for reviewing the regulations before passing any laws.

“Because there are some proctors help cheat, many Thanaweya Amma students petitioned against their final results, for example, a student from Upper Egypt’s Minya governorate got zero in Arabic Language test as her answer sheet was changed inside a exam correction committee.

Before conducting the examinations, the Ministry of Education issued in November 2014 a warning statement against cheating; per the statement, any student caught with a smart phone, the exam scores would be canceled. Also any student caught trying to leak exam info over Facebook would be referred to a disciplinary committee.

The statement added that any proctor who helped a student to cheat would be barred from observing exams for 5 consecutive years with 2-month salary deduction, and one who caught a cheating student would be awared a bonus.

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