The government in Algeria is turning off the Internet as students begin to take the tests they need to finish high school. The government is trying to keep the students from sharing the questions and answers to the test over the Internet.
The final high school exams (tests) in Algeria are a big deal. Students who do well on them, have a much better chance of going on to college, or of finding a good job. The exams are quite difficult. In 2017, only a little more than half of the students taking the tests passed.
In 2016, Algeria had a big problem with their final high school exams. Some people had gotten the questions early and had shared them over social media . Because many students knew the questions ahead of time, the results of the tests were not fair. Over 550,000 students had to take their exams again a week later.
Last year, the Algerian government asked Internet companies to block social media programs and websites. They thought this would help solve the problem, but it didn’t work. So this year the government is taking a stronger step.
Nouria Benghabrit, who is in charge of education in Algeria, says that regular Internet and cell phone Internet service, will be turned off for one hour each day as each test begins. The testing lasts through Monday, June 25. Algeria has also blocked the social media site Facebook all through the country while the exams are going on.
Algeria was very careful before the tests this time, too. They put security cameras in the businesses that were printing the exams, so no one there could share the questions ahead of time.
Students are not allowed to bring any electronic devices that can connect to the Internet into the exam rooms. The government has set up metal detectors at the doors of the 2,000 buildings where the students will take the exams, just to make sure.
Algeria is not the only country that has taken this step to solve a cheating problem. Ethiopia, India, Iraq, and Uzbekistan have also chosen to solve cheating problems by turning the Internet off.
The 700,000 students who are taking the exams this week will find out how well they did in late July.
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