12 Education Ministry officials detained pending investigations into exam leaks
Egyptian Thanawya Amma students wait to take final exams

CAIRO: Twelve officials from the Education Ministry were detained Monday pending investigations into high-profile exam leaks, Youm7 reported.

The officials work at the publishing department, the exam center, and the distribution unit. They were ordered into detention for 24 hours while security bodies determine the identity of those who leaked the Thanaweya Amma (high school diploma) tests.

Spokesperson for the Education Ministry Beshir Hassan told Al-Nahar al-Yoam channel Sunday evening there is “an infiltration inside the Education Ministry by the Muslim Brotherhood group.”

The prosecution opened an expansive investigation Sunday that continued for 10 hours until early Monday after Education Minister el-Helaly el-Sherbiny requested a prosecution intervention to find the perpetrators.

The religion test was postponed as it was leaked two hours before it was set to begin, along with a model answer. The Arabic test was circulated on social media 30 minutes after it began nationwide.

The algebra exam of Thanaweya Amma of Al-Azhar schools was also leaked on Facebook pages. A number of Facebook pages leaked the exams claiming it’s a reaction to the “corrupt educational system.”

Thanaweya Ammaa is the gateway to universities, as each college accepts a student based on certain limits of his scores at the Thanaweya Amma standardized tests. Egyptian students view the Thanaweya Ammaa exams as fateful for their academic and professional careers.

The Thanaweya Amma exams began Sunday across Egypt; more than 562,000 students will take the final exams this year over the next four weeks.

A law imposing prison sentences and fines ranging from 20,000 EGP ($2,200) to 30,000 EGP was issued last year to deter those who leak exams either through printing, broadcasting or any other means of publication.

Leaking Thanaweya Amma exams is a high-profile issue related to national security; Israel leaked Thanaweya Amma tests on its national radio in June 1967, the same month it defeated Egypt and occupied the Sinai. Late President Gamal Abdel Nasser canceled the exams and students went through other tests later that year.

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