Algeria shut down the internet to prevent a repeat of cheating in 2016.
ROME – The Algerian government has ordered a complete shutdown of the internet to prevent cheating in its annual high school exams.
The country’s 40 million citizens, as well as its many multinational corporations, will all be affected by the order.
The exams start this week.
For several hours each day, while students take the end-of-year tests, all of Algeria will be cut off from the World Wide Web in order to avoid a repeat of widespread cheating in 2016, when the questions were leaked. ‘advance.
In addition to cyber-vetting efforts, some of the nearly 2,000 testing centers will also have metal detectors in place to prevent students from bringing in Internet-enabled devices that can be used to help answer questions. Jamming stations and security cameras have also been installed in some places.
According to the Algerian press service, 709,448 students nationwide will take the final test, which determines whether they will receive the equivalent of a high school diploma in the United States.
Education Minister Nouria Beghanbrit posted a message to students on her Facebook page before the service was suspended, encouraging students to “reject any behavior that would compromise their efforts to succeed.”
In 2016, the final exam questions were leaked online before the test took place, questioning the results of thousands of people. The government then tried to limit only social media sites in 2017, but found that cheating was still happening.
This is what sparked the crackdown this year. The government – which has asked local internet providers to take the extraordinary measure of a complete shutdown – has demanded that the internet be turned off during the morning hours of the five days students take their exams.
It will also limit access to social media in an attempt to prevent online discussions about the test.
Alergie Telecom, the country’s public Internet operator, confirmed in a statement that services had been cut “in accordance with government instructions aimed at ensuring the smooth running of the high school diploma exams.”
Twitter users posted articles under the hashtag #AlgeriaBlackout to debate the need for the shutdown.
Algeria is not the first country to order the closure of its internet. India, which has blocked internet access during times of social unrest, has also blocked the internet regionally during school exams, and Ethiopia has taken a similar step after some of its test questions leaked in 2016.